Start Early. Start well.

Early Childhood Workforce Commission

The Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission is a group of approximately 40 public- and private-sector leaders that has worked for three years to develop a comprehensive plan for expanding and strengthening the state's early childhood workforce.

workforce commission report

Elevating Nebraska's Early Childhood Workforce: Report and Recommendations of the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission is the culmination of three years of effort by the commission. This groundbreaking report outlines the urgent need to prioritize the early childhood workforce in Nebraska for our children, families, communities, and state. The report will be released to the public on Thursday, Jan. 30, in Lincoln. At the event, a panel composed of commission members will share an overview of the report's findings and recommendations meant to help guide the state's early childhood care and education into the future. State Senator John Stinner, commission member and chair of the Legislature's Appropriations Committee, will deliver opening remarks. 

Learn more and register here.

About the commission

1.  The commission focused on the early childhood workforce because decades of research has shown that those who care for and educate young children play the single most important role in their early development and learning.

2.  In Nebraska today, nearly 80 percent of children from birth through age 5 are in some form of paid child care. Sixty-two percent of mothers with infants are in the labor force in Nebraska.

3.  Tremendous challenges face the early childhood workforce, ranging from a statewide shortage of professionals to a lack of training to low wages, among others. In 2015, the median wage for child care professionals in Nebraska was $19,620, which is nearly $3,000 below the poverty line for a family of three. 

4.  These challenges contribute to turnover and instability in early childhood programs, directly impacting the quality of care children receive. These challenges also are felt across the state, in both urban and rural areas. According to the 2016 Kids Count in Nebraska Report, 11 counties statewide had no licensed child care facilities in 2015, and roughly 84 percent of counties in Nebraska with child care facilities did not have enough available slots to meet the estimated current demand.

5.  The commission addressed these challenges by working together to develop a consensus-driven plan of action. Efforts addressed the multiple systems of higher education, early care and education, and government policy that govern these issues.

6.  The commission met quarterly over a three-year period (2017 – 2019).

commission goals

baby girl

The Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission will create a shared state vision for improving, supporting, and sustaining a skilled, informed, and diverse early childhood workforce.


The group will foster consensus for needed improvements in multiple systems that impact early childhood settings and professionals, including higher education, early care and education, regulations, and public policy.

girl and teacher

The commission will facilitate and promote collaboration among the state's two- and four-year universities and colleges, the Nebraska Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, and other key stakeholders throughout the state, and assist with public outreach.

early childhood workforce commission Information Kit


For more information about the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission, please contact Susan Sarver, Ph.D., director of workforce planning and development at the Buffett Institute, at

The commission is co-chaired by Marjorie J. Kostelnik, professor of Child, Youth, and Family Studies and formerly dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Samuel J. Meisels, founding executive director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute.
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