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.
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.
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 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.