The child care/early care and education (CC/ECE) workforce faces serious challenges because of the pandemic’s impact, which has compounded other challenges the field has faced for decades. Contract-based financing mechanisms are one approach that could help stabilize the field. To inform state efforts to stabilize the workforce with the significant new federal pandemic relief investment in child care, we convened 26 state administrators, researchers, stakeholders, and advocates to discuss the potential of using contracts to advance specific workforce goals.
Key takeaways from this convening include the following:
- Prioritizing contract-based financing approaches to address systemic inequities is critical.
- Contracts can be linked or delinked from subsidy slots.
- Contracts can be with individual workers, programs, or intermediary organizations.
- Contracts can be targeted to affect various workforce goals, including salaries/income, benefits, and/or professional development opportunities.
- Contracts can be financed through numerous funding sources.
In this work, we present more than 30 contracting strategies states might consider using to achieve their goals to support the workforce.