Start Early. Start well.

Early Childhood Workforce Development

The Early Childhood Workforce Development Program is one of two signature programs of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute.
The program goal is to ensure a skilled, informed, and diverse workforce is available to all young children. We will support and guide the consistent application of proven practices—drawn from the science of child development—to reshape the learning experiences of new and longtime teachers and caregivers.


Increasing the number of skilled early childhood professionals and quality child care and learning environments is key to the healthy growth and development of Nebraska’s young children. To meet both current demand, as well as future projections, it is estimated by First Five Nebraska that the state needs more than 7,900 highly qualified early childhood professionals. The Early Childhood Workforce Development Program was initiated in fall 2014 to address this critical, statewide need. 



illustration of children

Current 2,005

Early childhood staff serving at-risk children, from birth through age 5, in settings that have high quality standards

illustration of children

Needed 7,985

Early childhood staff needed to ensure that all children at risk, from birth through age 5, participate in programs with quality standards

the plan

Through the Early Childhood Workforce Development program, the Buffett Institute is partnering with others to build a strong workforce of adults who care, teach, nurture, and advance children’s development through meaningful relationships and enduring experiences from birth – Grade 3.

The initial focus is professional preparation for early childhood professionals. The Buffett Institute is collaborating with Nebraska’s institutions of higher education, public, private, and community colleges, and local school districts to:

  • Augment and improve professional preparation programs.
  • Enable early childhood and early elementary teachers and providers to have access to high-quality, evidence-based, innovative programs.
  • Provide the support needed to put these practices to work.
  • The program will be implemented through a variety of activities including surveys, professional development opportunities, mentoring, and public education efforts.


Workforce Brochure

The brochure provides an overview of workforce development, one of the Buffett Institute’s signature programs. With references and citations for the data used in the brochure. MORE

NE Higher Education Inventory

Nebraska Higher Education Inventory

A survey of early childhood faculty at 2- and 4-year programs across Nebraska provides a comprehensive picture of the state’s early childhood degree programs at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. MORE


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


Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce Conference

This conference brought together higher education faculty and key stakeholders to discuss how to improve the size and quality of Nebraska’s early childhood workforce so it can better serve children at risk. The conference was the first step in building an action plan for Nebraska. MORE

NE Early Childhood Workforce Commission

Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission

A group of public- and private-sector leaders working 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


For more information, please contact Susan Sarver, Ph.D.,
Director of Workforce Planning and Development
( or 402-554-3762).
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