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.