Expand the number of professionals entering and remaining in the workforce.
6.1.1 Develop recommendations to increase compensation and benefits for early childhood care and education professionals.
6.1.2 Develop and implement a comprehensive career pathway to facilitate career entrance and advancement.
6.1.3 Expand opportunities for early childhood care and education career exploration at the high school level, including effective promotion and understanding of all positions and leadership opportunities.
6.1.4 Launch a workforce registry for early childhood care and education professionals to access, track, and guide career advancement.
6.1.5 Document and address recruitment and retention challenges.
6.1.6 Engage pre-service faculty and in-service professionals in identifying challenges for training program development and expansion. Make adjustments to address demands in workforce recruitment, preparation, and retention.
Recruiting and retaining professionals is a top priority for Kansas early childhood leaders. There is clear recognition of the impact low wages and minimal benefits has on the workforce, and leaders are actively exploring ways to leverage PDG funding or other federal relief funding to support these efforts. Fundamental to a wage strategy is a Career Pathway that articulates and offers a structure for incentivizing professional growth within early childhood. A task force, known as the Professional Development Implementation Team, has been working in partnership with consultant Bank Street to explore options and develop a draft pathway. The Children’s Cabinet is also exploring alignment with Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways and potential apprenticeship system design and scaling model efforts such as those within Wichita USD.
Efforts to establish a professional development workforce registry in Kansas are also underway. A small working group from within the Professional Development Implementation Team is crafting an RFP that leverages the systems currently in place while identifying areas to help align early childhood workforce data. It is expected that this registry process will continue over the next year.