UD Named Partner in Nationally Funded Early Childhood Workforce Center

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the University of Delaware’s (UD) Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood (DIEEC), housed within the College of Education and Human Development, and five other partners a cooperative agreement to establish and operate the first-of-its-kind National Early Care and Education (ECE) Workforce Center.

In addition to UD, core partners include Child Trends, the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, BUILD Initiative, ZERO TO THREE and the University of Massachusetts–Boston.

With a $30 million investment over five years, the National ECE Workforce Center will coordinate and provide technical assistance and rigorous research to advance the recruitment and retention of a diverse, qualified, and effective workforce in early childhood care and education. Rena Hallam, director of DIEEC and professor in CEHD’s Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, will serve as the principal investigator for the UD team.

“We are honored to be selected and to partner with these leaders to build a sustainable, equitable system to support the ECE workforce,” Hallam said. “The National Early Care and Education Workforce Center will bridge the gap between research and technical assistance in helping states implement policies that positively impact the early childhood workforce and ensure that families of young children can access high quality child care.”

This initiative comes at a critical time for ECE workers and the country. The ECE workforce plays an integral role in the health and development of children while providing an essential service to working families and the economy. However, educators’ knowledge, skills and well-being are undermined by current systems and longstanding racial and gender inequities.

DIEEC develops innovative solutions for critical issues in early childhood care and education, integrating research and practice, to directly support early childhood educators.