An Innovative public-private partnership to advance the early childhood workforce in Colorado

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The Need.

Early educators are a significant contributor to children’s healthy development. Yet, many communities still lack access to an effective, consistent workforce in whom families can place their trust and with whom young children can thrive.

The Focus.

It is time for Colorado to prioritize ways to attract and retain talented professionals in early childhood. The initiative’s goal is to develop sustainable and varied approaches to support a well-qualified and diverse early childhood workforce throughout Colorado.

The Strategy.

Building on the research conducted in the first phase of the initiative, Milestones will support local partnerships to tackle the issues faced by the early childhood workforce in Colorado by implementing innovative ideas for systemic change in workforce recruitment, retention, and compensation.

Announcement of the EC Workforce Innovation Grantees 

Six partnerships have been selected to receive Early Childhood Workforce Innovation Grants as part of the larger Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce in Colorado Initiative. Grants, ranging from $25,000 to $250,000, will help advance innovative solutions through one or more levers for change: Compensation, Targeted Recruitment, Education and Career Pathways, and Working Conditions. Projects were selected based upon their strong partnerships, flexible approaches to improvement, and willingness to tackle Colorado’s workforce challenges by testing innovative ideas that hold the promise for long-term, systemic and sustainable change.

The following is a brief summary of the proposed work and the lead agency for each project:

  • Child Care 8000 (Compensation and Targeted Recruitment) – Focused on improving compensation through business efficiencies. Led by Mesa County Public Health.
  • Compensation Parity in Summit County (Compensation) – Development of a county-wide salary schedule and shared services approach to benefits management. Led by Early Childhood Options.
  • Denver’s Early Childhood Workforce Initiative (Targeted Recruitment and Education and Career Pathways) – An apprenticeship project aimed at increasing diverse and bilingual educators. Led by Denver’s Early Childhood Council.
  • Expanding Professional Possibilities in Early Childhood (Targeted Recruitment, Education and Career Pathways, and Working Conditions) – ECE cohort program using a hybrid model of classes and placements in supportive work environments. Led by Early Childhood Council of Larimer County.
  • La Plata County & Southern Ute EC Workforce Initiative (Targeted Recruitment and Education and Career Pathways) – Expansion of education pathways through a concurrent enrollment program. Led by Early Childhood Council of La Plata County.
  • Pathways to Teaching (Targeted Recruitment and Education and Career Pathways) – Launch of a concurrent enrollment project coupled with internships and externships. Led by St. Vrain Valley School District.
More Information ›

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • + What is Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce in Colorado?

    Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce in Colorado is a public-private partnership initiative to develop sustainable and varied approaches to recruit, retain, compensate, and support a well-qualified workforce for the state’s young children. This will be done through research, planning, and implementing innovative solutions that will lead to the spread of best practices throughout the state.

    The work:

    Research: Collect information on the experience of the workforce; key programs, practices, and policies that affect them; and the impact of the workforce and industry on the local and state economy.

    Plan: Use research, stakeholder input, and local and state expertise to create the State’s next generation EC Workforce and Professional Development Plan. Plan development is guided by the Early Childhood Professional Development Advisory, a working group of the Early Childhood Leadership Commission, and informed through CO’s participation in the Incubation to Innovation (i2I) project with the National Academy of Medicine.

    Explore: Test innovative solutions to advance the unique needs of the EC workforce throughout Colorado, focused on recruitment, retention, and compensation.

    Communicate: Share strategies and learning to inform sustainable policy and program change and to spread effective approaches.

  • + Why is the project important for Colorado?

    The early childhood workforce is vital for Colorado’s…..

    Children: Teachers are a significant contributor to children’s healthy development. Yet, many communities still lack an effective, consistent early childhood workforce in whom families can place their trust and with whom young children can thrive.

    Families: In contrast to the critical nature of the work, wages in this sector are very low. Therefore, it is difficult to recruit and retain a high-quality and consistent workforce. Many areas of the state have teacher shortages, and parents struggle to find any care, let alone quality, consistent care that will support their children to thrive.

    Local Economies:   The early childhood workforce boosts local and state economies; the industry enables parents to work and financially provide for their families, while also employing a  workforce of teachers, administrators, and family child care professionals.

  • + Who oversees and funds the project?

    Steering partners include Early Milestones Colorado, the Colorado Department of Education, and the Colorado Department of Human Services. Philanthropic partners include Gary Community Investments and Buell Foundation.

  • + Who should I contact to learn more about the Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce Project?

    Christi Chadwick

    Project Director

RESOURCES

PARTNERS

  • 2020 Plan Goals and Objectives
  • 2020 Plan Goals and Objectives
  • 2020 Plan Goals and Objectives
  • 2020 Plan Goals and Objectives
  • 2020 Plan Goals and Objectives
  • 2020 Plan Goals and Objectives