Innovative partnerships receive funds to stimulate Colorado’s early childhood workforce

DENVER, April 23, 2019 – Early Milestones Colorado (Early Milestones) is pleased to announce the five partnerships that have been selected to receive Early Childhood Workforce Innovation Grants. Ranging from $38,000 to $209,000, these grants are part of the larger Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce in Colorado Initiative (the Initiative).

Twenty organizations submitted proposals, representing 39 Colorado counties, with lead agencies from a variety of industries, including local governments, early childhood programs, nonprofit organizations, and higher education.

Final grantees were selected through a competitive process that considered each project’s partnerships and innovative approach in tackling Colorado’s workforce challenges.

The Initiative is designed to advance innovative solutions in one or more of the key levers for change: compensation, targeted recruitment, education and career pathways, and working conditions. These projects exemplify a statewide desire to affect positive systemic and sustainable change across the early childhood workforce.

Led by the Early Childhood Council of La Plata County, the La Plata County Early Childhood Workforce Initiative (key levers: targeted recruitment, education and career pathways) will continue to create a pipeline of qualified, effective early childhood care and education (ECCE) workforce candidates through partnerships with local school districts, higher education institutions, and ECCE centers. The expansion of this project will include leadership development for directors and assistant directors to enhance strategies for workforce recruitment and retention, and support job-embedded skill development for new ECCE professionals.

Red Rocks Community College (RRCC) leads the Apprenticeship and Teacher Preparation Initiative (key levers: targeted recruitment, education and career pathways, compensation), a higher-education partnership that includes RRCC’s Early Child Education Department and Child Care Innovations, Arapahoe Community College, Northeast Junior College, Morgan Community College, and Pueblo Community College. The project will address the systemic need for a qualified early childhood workforce. Pre-service teachers will participate in college coursework and a federally registered apprenticeship program with mentor teachers, who will be identified and receive college coursework specific to mentoring skills that support early childhood education (ECE) students and apprentices.

Expanding Professional Possibilities in Early Childhood (key levers: targeted recruitment, education and career pathways, working conditions) will build upon the momentum of its first year to continue supporting career growth and the fostering of supportive work environments, with an emphasis on embedding cultural consciousness. Led by the Early Childhood Council of Larimer County, efforts include an ongoing ECE mentor teacher and cohort student model, as well as implementation of a high school apprenticeship program in collaboration with all three school districts and Larimer County Economic and Workforce Development.

Valley Settlement will lead the Creating Pathways to Early Childhood Training for Rural Latinx Caregivers (key levers: targeted recruitment and education and career pathways) project. Identifying the need for a diverse early childhood workforce, this project will pilot a Spanish-taught Child Development Associate for high school juniors and seniors and informal caregivers seeking a viable career in early childhood.

Building upon the 2018 Innovation Grant, Denver’s Early Childhood Workforce Initiative (key levers: targeted recruitment, education and career pathways, compensation, working conditions) will focus on a “No Wrong Door” model to provide an accessible and supportive pathway for individuals seeking Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) qualifications. Led by Denver’s Early Childhood Council, the project will support participants entering and growing within the field with unique career navigation and resources, including scholarships, to earn their ECT qualification. On-the-job training and wrap-around supports will target participants’ job retention and success.

For additional information about the Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce in Colorado Initiative, visit


About the Initiative

The Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce in Colorado Initiative is a public-private partnership led by Early Milestones Colorado that includes Gary Community Investments, Buell Foundation, the Colorado Department of Education, and the Colorado Department of Human Services. Rose Community Foundation serves as fiscal sponsor for the grantmaking effort and Mathematica Policy Research provides technical assistance and evaluation.

About Early Milestones Colorado

Early Milestones Colorado is an independent organization helping to advance innovative solutions that improve policies and practices in early childhood development. Founded in 2015, we work with state and local partners to exchange ideas, share resources, and create lasting, positive change so that every Colorado community can provide an environment where children will flourish.