Strengthening ECE Workforce Diversity while Improving Workforce Quality: Challenges, Opportunities, and Policy Solutions

Though provider qualifications alone do not ensure greater gains for children, recent research on the relationship between professional preparation and children’s outcomes has informed a growing movement to professionalize the ECE workforce. This movement also reflects concerns about negative impacts of low compensation on program quality, staff retention, and continuity of care for young children. Increasing the professionalism of the ECE workforce is intended to improve outcomes for children by ensuring that the workforce is skilled, stable, and appropriately compensated. Yet these efforts to improve workforce quality also run the risk of reducing its racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity. With these considerations in mind, the 2018 convening addressed these key issues: 

  • The importance of ECE workforce diversity for young children
  • How increasing professionalism may pose risks for maintaining and enhancing the field’s diversity
  • Structural barriers that reduce access to higher education
  • Challenges related to poor job quality and low compensation in the field
  • Systemic inequalities, including issues of racism and sexism
  • Meeting the needs of immigrant and multilingual early childhood educators
  • Reaching the workforce across ECE settings, including home based and infant/toddler care
  • National initiatives’ role in strengthening the ECE workforce
  • Federal policy challenges and opportunities
  • State and local strategies for strengthening the ECE workforce

Convening Agenda 

Speaker Bios