In 2019, the Colorado Lab and the Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) teamed up with funding from the Piton and Temple Hoyne Buell Foundations to address the need for comprehensive, streamlined, quality data on the early care and education (ECE) workforce. The earlier work leveraged the Colorado Lab’s expertise and oversight of the Linked Information Network of Colorado (LINC) data scientist to create a sustainable data asset on the ECE professional workforce for Colorado. This came in the form of a Colorado 2019 Snapshot Report on the ECE workforce as well as a web-based interactive data dashboard that allows stakeholders to dissect critical information on the size, demographics, and qualifications of the ECE workforce at county, early childhood council, and state regions. Already, the data from Phase I of this project has informed the governor’s cabinet goals for increasing the ECE workforce and tracking progress on these goals.
Despite the success in Phase I, there remained critical information gaps that needed to be filled. With funding from the Federal Preschool Development Grant awarded to CDEC, the partnership with the Colorado Lab was extended. The Phase II work includes:
- The completion of a LINC project that incorporates higher education and labor and employment data to better understand pathways for the ECE workforce. The LINC project data will be used to update the ECE workforce data dashboard and a 2020 ECE workforce snapshot report.
- Support for CDEC’s rebuild of their data systems that will capture an early childhood workforce registry and provide ECE workforce professionals with effective professional development opportunities. This work includes data quality assessment, data migration from the old system, and seamless incorporation of the data dashboard.
- The development and piloting of a My Colorado Journey pathway for prospective ECE workforce professionals.
Colorado Department of Early Childhood
University of Denver, Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab
Organizations working to improve conditions for the early childhood workforce need data to inform their decision-making. However, state government often has insufficient capacity to make sense of the data they collect, and organizations holding key data to complete the early childhood workforce picture are siloed. The Colorado Lab is partnering with the Colorado Department of Human Service’s Office of Early Childhood to improve their data utilization capacity and to routinely share meaningful metrics on the early childhood workforce that is so critical to the wellbeing of Colorado’s young children.
Colorado Early Care and Education Workforce Data Dashboard (click image to view)