By Erin Duffy
The Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission issued its seminal report in January 2020 and made a bold promise: this was not a plan or document that would sit and gather dust on a shelf.
To that end, the Workforce Commission recently released its four-year update showcasing the programs and initiatives that are addressing Nebraska’s most pressing early childhood needs.
“In the midst of a crisis for early childhood professionals, it is good to reflect on and appreciate all the hard work that is being accomplished by organizations across the state,” said Susan Sarver, the Buffett Early Childhood Institute’s director of workforce planning and development. “We still have work to do to achieve the best possible settings for all early childhood professionals, but we are making progress.”
The commission identified four goals to strengthen Nebraska’s early childhood workforce and ensure all children and families had access to quality early childhood care and education:
- A highly qualified early childhood workforce
- Full funding of early care and education in Nebraska
- An informed, engaged, and committed public
- An implementation and accountability infrastructure for effective coordination, collaboration, and communication across the state
Progress and implementation efforts for each goal are tracked. The latest update includes:
- Examples of collaborative early childhood initiatives from January through December 2023 that align with commission goals, including the RESPECT Across Nebraska initiative to ease barriers for early childhood degrees and credentials, wider access to Child Development Associate credential pathways, and the increased engagement of Spanish-speaking early educators
- A look ahead at areas of growth and opportunity for 2024
- An invitation to share and spotlight community work
Read the full report and see how early childhood organizations, early educators, and communities are answering the call of the Workforce Commission.
“All of this is within our reach,” the commission wrote in its original report. “To make it a reality over the next decade we need a commitment to reach deeper. A commitment of knowledge, skill, and experience. A commitment to invest in a brighter future for all of us. And a commitment no one can deny: to do the best for every child.”
Erin Duffy is the managing editor at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska and writes about early childhood issues that affect children, families, educators, and communities. Previously, she spent more than a decade covering education stories and more for daily newspapers.
Have a comment, a question, or a story idea? Reach Erin at email@example.com