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Governor’s Budget Seeks Boost to Wages for ECE Workforce


Colorado Lab Snapshot Report and Linked Information Network of Colorado key to request

The Colorado Lab is dedicated to creating actionable research. A recent effort to create a snapshot of the Early Childhood Education (ECE) workforce, funded by the Piton Foundation and the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation, was no exception. The Snapshot Report demonstrated that “high turnover in the field exacerbates the workforce shortage and hinders childcare quality,” and pointed to low pay as a contributing factor.

Governor Jared Polis’s office responded to these findings with action. The Colorado Department of Human Services recommended an increase of $3 million in the state budget to increase wages for early childhood education professionals working in programs that enroll children participating in the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP). 

In addition, the budget request includes partial funding for evaluation of the effort, to determine its effect on recruitment and retention. If the budget request is approved, the Colorado Lab will work with the state to seek additional funding for a rigorous evaluation using the Linked Information Network of Colorado (LINC) to connect data from the Colorado Office of Early Childhood, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, and public assistance programs. This evaluation would assess the cost savings to the state as a result of this wage boost.

The request is on its way to the Joint Budget Committee of the Colorado Legislature. It is likely to be successful as the funding would be drawn from the federal Child Care and Development Fund.

The Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab seeks to help the state pursue data-informed strategies to improve the lives of Colorado residents. The primary mechanism for this work is the Linked Information Network of Colorado (LINC).