Supporting a Strong Early Childhood Workforce in Colorado
by Kristina Mueller, Early Childhood Leadership Commission Director
We know that when children are cared for in stable, quality environments with supportive, well-trained educators, they are better able to reach their full potential and be prepared to succeed throughout their life.
Colorado’s professional development system for early childhood educators has soared over the past several years thanks to the work of the Colorado Department of Human Services – Office of Early Childhood and the Department of Education, along with all of our partners throughout Colorado.
However, many communities still lack an effective, consistent workforce in whom families can place their trust and with whom young children can thrive.
That’s why the state of Colorado is working together to develop and implement sustainable strategies to help recruit, retain, compensate, and support the early childhood professional workforce.
The Early Childhood Leadership Commission has prioritized “Elevating the Early Childhood Workforce” as one of its three main focus areas for the next several years. Through the work of the EC Professional Development Advisory Working Group, we are using research, stakeholder input, and local and state expertise to create the State’s next generation EC Workforce and Professional Development Plan, which was originally created in 2010.
Taking this work further, Colorado is participating in the Incubation to Innovation (i2I) project with the National Academy of Medicine through an innovative and exciting public/private partnership including Early Milestones Colorado, the Colorado Department of Education, and the Colorado Department of Human Services, along with philanthropic partners Gary Community Investments and the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation. Over the next several years this group will develop sustainable and varied approaches to recruit, retain, compensate, and support a well-qualified workforce through research, planning, and pilots that will lead to the spread of practices and policies throughout the state.
More information on this work can be found on the website at http://coloradoecworkforce.org.
Once again, Colorado is leading the way by working to find sustainable, supportive methods to support our early childhood professionals and provide better environments for our children. We look forward to working together to develop and implement this exciting work!