New NLC Project Helps Cities Transform Their Early Childhood Education Workforce

Throughout this two-year project, our Institute for Youth, Education, and Families will delve into cities’ work on early childhood workforce issues, highlight successes across the country, and bring together local leaders around these issues.

Teacher and boy writing alphabet on whiteboard

NLC is excited for this new opportunity with the Foundation for Childhood Development and is eager to learn from cities and bring together local leaders to improve and support the early childhood workforce. (Getty Images)

The National League of Cities (NLC), through its Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute), is embarking on a new project, Cities Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce, that will contribute to the transformation of the early childhood workforce at the local level. Through this project, sponsored by the Foundation for Child Development (FCD), NLC will frame the important role the early childhood workforce plays in the city economic landscape, bring together key partners for strategic planning efforts, and identify opportunities to coordinate policies and practices.

The NLC Institute for Youth, Education, and Families has selected seven cities to participate in this project. The selected cities include:

  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Rochester, New York
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Kansas City, Missouri

It is well known that, through their early years, children learn at a rapid pace and form certain neurological structures that provide a critical foundation for lifelong learning and growth. It is important that early childhood educators have the support and resources they need to provide a quality learning experience so all children in their care thrive and reach their full potential. Last year, the Institute of Medicine released a comprehensive report on the early childhood workforce, “Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation,” which highlights challenges and opportunities to improve the early childhood workforce and creating a high quality pool of early childhood educators.

Throughout this two-year project, the YEF Institute will delve into cities’ work on early childhood workforce issues, highlight successes across the country, and connect local leaders to one another. During the first year, the Institute will visit cities that have established themselves at the forefront of supporting the early childhood workforce, as well as create opportunities for peer learning among a cohort of leaders in the field. In the second year, we will continue to support and facilitate peer learning opportunities and host a roundtable for in-person collaboration and knowledge sharing with local and national leaders along with other experts. At the conclusion of the project, the YEF Institute will compile its findings and share the lessons it learned and best practices with NLC member cities and their partners.

NLC will work closely with the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Association of State Boards of Education, which also received funding from FCD. These organizations have strong membership bases, as well as research and advocacy staff who will serve as partners on this project.

NLC is excited for this new opportunity with FCD and is eager to learn from cities and bring together local leaders to improve and support the early childhood workforce.

Lauren RobertsonAbout the Author:  Lauren Robertson is the Associate of Early Childhood in NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families