Strengthening the Diversity and Quality of the Early Care and Education Workforce: Summary Convening Papers

Strengthening the Diversity and Quality of the Early Care and Education Workforce: Summary of the 2018 and 2019 Convenings
Heather Sandstrom and Diane Schilder
In the years immediately preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers, researchers, and philanthropists recognized the pressing need to build and strengthen the early care and education (ECE) workforce. Evidence documenting the relationship between early childhood educator professional preparation and children’s outcomes spurred a growing movement to professionalize the ECE workforce, to ensure early educators have the skills and knowledge needed to best support children’s early learning.

With support from the Foundation for Child Development, in 2018 and 2019, the Urban Institute and Child Trends organized and facilitated convenings on the topic of strengthening the ECE workforce to best meet all young children’s needs. Convening participants discussed the issue of how the ECE workforce can best support the increasingly diverse population of young children by elevating discussions about racial equity, providing the ECE workforce with professional development to best support the range of children’s developmental needs, unpacking and defining the term diversity, and making significant public investments in the ECE workforce. This report summarizes key points and recommendations raised during the convening.

Racial, Economic, and Social Justice for the Early Care and Education Workforce: Pre, During, and PostCOVID-19: January 2021 Convening Summary
Diane Schilder and Heather Sandstrom
The COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented public health emergency that crippled the child care market in the United States. This crisis highlighted the essential role of the early care and education (ECE) workforce in the nation’s economic stability and growth. The pandemic’s disproportionate effect on Black, Hispanic, and Native American communities further raised racial and social justice concerns.

In January 2021, the Urban Institute, Child Trends, and the Foundation for Child Development sponsored a virtual convening. The convening brought together scholars, along with national, state, and local experts, to discuss key issues affecting the ECE workforce before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants recommended policy and practice solutions to address the challenges of the structural wage and opportunity gaps the ECE workforce faces and to support workforce well-being. This report presents policy and practice recommendations.