Background

There is growing consensus that the issues of the early childhood workforce are of critical importance for children, families, communities and the economic vitality of our states and indeed, the country.  See the resources page for a full list of research and reports that support this consensus.

Minnesota needs high-quality early childhood care and education to support children, working parents and the economic vitality of our state. But we have a crisis on our hands.   We do not have enough qualified early childhood workers to take care of all of the children in Minnesota. Parents struggle to find a place to leave their children while they work and employers struggle to find employees. It is a very difficult to encourage people to go into the early childhood field because the wages are abysmally low. Because we have primarily a private pay market for early childhood care, it is not feasible to ask parents to pay more.  Parents struggle to find a place to leave their children while they work.  Parents are reluctant to enter the workforce when there isn’t quality child child and employers struggle to find employees.

In addition, our requirements for those who care for young children have not kept up with the science of brain development.  We are finding that children are better prepared for school and life when they have caregivers and educators who are well trained and highly skilled.  Yet with low wages there is little incentive to obtain higher levels of education.

We need to transform the early childhood workforce in Minnesota to better meet the needs of children, families, employers and the state.

The short videos on this page were made by Lea Austin, Ed D, Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley for our use at the Early Childhood Workforce Symposium that we held at the University of Minnesota, Duluth in September of 2017.  They provide lots of great background information.