Start Early. Start well.

Elevating the Early Childhood Workforce

Elevating the Early Childhood Workforce is one of two signature programs of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute.

The workforce program takes on the critical issues that affect the quality and quantity of early childhood professionals in our state, such as professional preparation and qualifications, workforce compensation, funding, and public commitment. As part of this work, the Institute convened the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission, which in 2020 released its report and recommendations. The workforce program’s focus now is on achieving the goals co-created with the commission. Learn more

why the early childhood workforce matters


The human brain is not fully developed at birth. Nearly 90% of brain growth takes place during the first five years of life.

The greatest opportunity for lifelong impact on children’s brain development is in the years from birth through age 8.

The single most important building block of brain architecture and childhood development is reliable, positive, and consistent interactions between the developing infant or child and familiar, caring adults.

The skills and knowledge of caregivers, teachers, and others who have professional responsibility for young children are essential for helping children realize their potential.

A qualified early childhood workforce is the cornerstone of quality early care and education.



Low wages and lack of benefits contribute to high rates of turnover of teachers, in some settings as high as 26%.

The median annual salary for a teacher in a community‐based early childhood setting is $18,706, which is below the poverty level for a family of three.

Approximately 27% of home‐based and 20% of center‐based teachers are on public assistance


Woman talking with fellow early childhood professionals

Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Leadership Cadre

A group of 25 early childhood professionals from across Nebraska who will meet periodically for three years to build their capacity as thought leaders and develop ideas for elevating the state's early childhood workforce. MORE

NE Early Childhood Workforce Commission

Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission

A group of public- and private-sector leaders that worked for three years to develop a comprehensive plan for improving the state’s early childhood workforce. The goal is to ensure a skilled, informed, and diverse workforce is available to meet the needs of Nebraska's young children. MORE

Teacher hugging child

Early Childhood Funding

Nebraska’s Public Investment in Early Childhood Care and Education, Fiscal Year 2021: Technical Report details how early childhood is funded in Nebraska and tracks the many state and federal funding streams that channel public funds to child care programs in the state. Also new: the Nebraska Early Childhood Funding Map, an interactive tool designed to help the user visualize the current complexity involved in financing Nebraska’s ECCE system while also exploring individual pathways within itMORE


Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Survey

A survey of teachers and early education professionals who work in licensed home-based and licensed center-based programs, and Kindergarten and elementary school classrooms, will establish baseline data for Nebraska’s early childhood workforce. MORE

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