The biennial Early Childhood Workforce Index represents the first effort to establish a baseline description of early childhood employment conditions and policies on a state-by-state basis in order to improve early childhood jobs. By providing states with periodic appraisals of their efforts, based on measurable status and policy indicators, the aim is to encourage states to step up their efforts to address these persistent workforce challenges and to inform related advocacy efforts. It is our hope that expanded and consistent focus on early childhood jobs will in turn generate refined strategies and stimulate the incubation and testing of sustainable policies to resolve compensation and other workforce issues that have gone largely unaddressed.
The Index provides a current appraisal of workforce conditions and policies across states. It is divided into three topical sections: earnings and economic security; early childhood workforce policies; and family and income support policies across occupations. In the section on earnings and economic security, we provide data on ECE workforce pay, noting changes over time. For the remaining two sections, we have identified measurable indicators of state policy for each topic, grouped by categories within each section. These indicators represent opportunities for state policies that have the potential to enhance the lives of the many children and adults affected by ECE employment conditions.
Based on the indicators, we assign states to one of three groups for each category as follows:
Red represents stalled: the state has made limited or no progress;
Yellow represents edging forward: the state has made partial progress;
Green represents making headway: the state is taking action and advancing promising policies.