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, as outlined in the 2021 Needs Assessment Update, and leaders are actively exploring ways to leverage PDG funding or other federal relief funding to support these efforts.
Kansas is in the process of building an early childhood professional workforce registry system, which will provide an online repository for accomplishments, professional developmentand training, and connections to resources that align with their career goals. This will address challenges providers report about difficulty in navigating online state systems. The registry will offer a robust and efficient look at Kansas workforce data, and the reporting elements related to recruitment, retention, and overall workforce trends will help inform future investment decisions at both state and local levels.
In conjunction with the registry, work is nearing completion on a Career Pathway for the early childhood workforce, which will be a foundational tool to professionalize the workforce, support coordinated recruitment and retention efforts, and guide professionals in advancing their career. It will provide clear, comprehensive guidelines for the alignment of resources, such as professional development, recognition, and wages, ensuring all early childhood professionals have a coordinated set of tools to advance their careers.
More than $272 million has been invested to support child care providers, including three rounds of Child Care Sustainability Grants to aid child care providers to meet the costs of operating their businesses through the remaining impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The third round of Child Care Sustainability Grants announced in March made more than $160 million available for child care businesses to use toward payroll expenses, costs of operations, and potential revenue losses. Rounds one and two of the Sustainability grants provided nearly $100 million in support to ensure child care centers and home-based providers were able to remain open.