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.

The 2019 EC Workforce Innovation Grantees.

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 pathwayscompensation, 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.

Early Milestones Publishes 2018 Grantee Report Summary

Following completion of year one for the Early Childhood Workforce Innovation Grants, Early Milestones Colorado has prepared a summary to detail our grantees’ accomplishments and lessons learned, as well policy opportunities determined throughout the initiative to this point.

2018 grantees included in this report:

READ THE REPORT ›

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?

    Kacee Miller, Project Director for the Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce initiative

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