UMass Boston

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to Create National ECE Workforce Center

02/06/2023| Office of Communications

UMass Boston’s Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation One of Six Partners Leading $30M Project

The Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation at UMass Boston is one of six core partners in a collaborative that was awarded $30 million over five years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Administration for Children and Families. The collaborative will launch and implement a new National Early Care and Education (ECE) Workforce Center that will coordinate and provide technical assistance and rigorous research to advance the recruitment and retainment of a diverse, qualified, and effective workforce.

“We thank the Biden Administration for trusting UMass Boston to deliver on such a critically important project for the American people. Early childhood workforce development is at the core of what UMass Boston is about – removing racial and gender barriers that historically prevent academic success and upward mobility and fueling an economy increasingly powered by immigrants and other historically disadvantaged communities,” said UMass Boston Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco.  “Through the scholarship of Professor Anne Douglass and our talented and committed faculty, UMass Boston has become a go-to institution to address educational and economic gaps in our society."

The ECE workforce plays an integral role in children’s health and development while providing an essential service to working families and the economy. Still, educators’ knowledge, skills, and well-being are undermined by current systems and longstanding racial and gender inequities. The National ECE Workforce Center comes at a critical time to address these inequities. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that investments are necessary for strengthening the economy and ensuring the stability of early care and education. The National ECE Workforce Center will place the more than two million members of the workforce—nearly all of whom are women and often women of color or immigrants—squarely in the conversation about the innovations and improvements that are needed.

“We are at a pivotal moment for the field of early care and education, and the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation is thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking effort. The National ECE Workforce Center will play a key role in transforming the systems the ECE workforce needs to thrive and lead,” said Anne Douglass, PhD, founder and executive director of the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation and a professor of early education at UMass Boston. “We celebrate the National ECE Workforce Center’s emphasis on prioritizing the voices, experiences, and leadership of early educators in shaping change, improvement, and innovation.”

The Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation will serve in a lead role supporting research and technical assistance activities at the National ECE Workforce Center that focus on ECE workforce systems change and early educator leadership. Other core partners in the collaborative include BUILD Initiative, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at UC Berkeley, Child Trends, Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood at the University of Delaware,  ZERO TO THREE, and by additional consultants in a Learning through Action Consortium.

The National ECE Workforce Center’s focus and goals will be to examine and address the need for fundamental changes to career advancement systems, compensation, and ECE workplace policies. It will advance change that centers early educators’ expertise and leadership across the full range of ECE settings (including family child care homes across Head Start, Child Care and Development Fund, state-funded preschool, and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and ECE systems (federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial).

Read more about the Administration for Children and Families and the National ECE Workforce Center here.

About the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation at UMass Boston

Founded in 2016, the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation drives systems change in early care and education through workforce and leadership development, research, and enhancing the larger early education ecosystem. It equips the racially, linguistically, and culturally diverse early care and education workforce to lead and innovate for change and quality improvement in their practice, program, and in the field so that all early educators, young children, and their families thrive. It is housed at the University of Massachusetts Boston, one of the nation’s leading urban public research universities.