Advancing ECE as a Profession: What it means to be workforce-led

by Rachel Hunter

I’m the outreach coordinator for the Advancing Early Childhood Education as a Profession project. As I talk with early childhood educators throughout the state, sometimes I hear questions like:

“What does workforce-led mean?”

“Who else are you engaging?”

“How do you know you’re reaching a wide variety of early childhood educators?”

My role is to ensure that we hear from all members of the early childhood workforce, including directors, teachers, assistant and associate teachers, floaters, family child care providers, licensed teachers, and public school teachers and support staff. 


We strive for diversity and for authentic engagement that you can believe in. My role is to ensure that we hear from all members of the early childhood workforce, including directors, teachers, assistant and associate teachers, floaters, family child care providers, licensed teachers, and public school teachers and support staff. And I’m backed up by our Task Force, which is made up of early childhood educators who represent the diversity of Vermont’s geography, settings, and roles.

This means: if we discover our engagement is lower with people in a specific role, we will seek out opportunities to talk directly with those members of the workforce. In addition, some meetings we attend only have representation from one role based on the purpose of the meeting. This is true of the Vermont Early Childhood Networks, which are predominantly made up of family child care providers.  

I thought it might be informative to share some charts with you. These show our outreach engagement on the Unifying Framework topic of Professional Compensation. We provided 21 opportunities for members of the workforce to engage on this topic. You’ll find a diverse representation of various roles, years in the field and education. We believe this ensures validity in the feedback we collect from the workforce.

If we find a group is under-represented, we flag that for improvement going forward. When we found we needed more participation from public school teachers and staff, we made a point of bringing Advancing as a Profession to this year’s Kindergarten conference. And that experience proved to be an especially rich source of feedback.

ROLES

Teacher/ licensed teacher/lead teacher27%
Assistant/ associate teacher19%
Program director/ administrator14%
Family child care provider/ teacher/ owner 21%
Other roles 19%

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE

less than 416%
5-1020%
11-1613%
17-2217%
23-2814%
29-349%
more than 349%

SETTINGS

Center-based program (not public school)65%
Family childcare home-based program24%
Head Start program2%
*Public school-based program3%
Other6%

*Public school-based workforce are under-represented in the survey; additional outreach strategies are planned going forward

HIGHEST LEVEL OF EDUCATION COMPLETED

High school or GED9%
Fundamentals7%
CDA7%
Apprenticeship7%
Associate’s degree14%
Bachelor’s degree34%
Master’s degree12%
Beyond Master’s degree4%
Other6%

This is what workforce-led has meant up to this point. Now, we’re expanding the circle even more. We have a mutual understanding for how Vermont’s workforce envisions our future as a recognized profession, and we’re moving toward how we might implement the recommendations of the Unifying Framework.

More ECEs are deepening their connection with this work through the pilot project to establish equivalence and through more opportunities for participation for people who are involved and versed in the Unifying Framework for the Early Childhood Education Profession.

Are you asking yourself, “what can I do to help early childhood education advance as a profession in Vermont?”

Here’s what you can do, to start:

Contact me.

Sign up for a workshop at the VTAEYC conference on October 13 + 14: “Getting Up to Speed” if you’re new to the project, or “What’s the Latest?” if you’re more familiar with the work to advance as a profession.

Read the Unifying Framework for the Early Childhood Education Profession.

Because if we’re collectively going to transform early childhood education into a well-prepared, well-compensated profession, we need your voice, and the voices of every early childhood educator in our state!

Rachel Hunter, Outreach Coordinator

Rachel Hunter is the Outreach Coordinator for Advancing Early Childhood Education as a Profession.