Bearing the Cost of Early Care and Education in Colorado: An Economic Analysis

BRC partnered with the Butler Institute at the University of Denver to understand Colorado’s early childhood workforce, including its current scope and the costs and obstacles to expanding it to meet future needs. The project was led by Dr. Meg Franko, Executive Director of the Butler Institute, and Dr. Andrew Brodsky.

The project was sponsored by Early Milestones Colorado as part of Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce in Colorado, an innovative public-private project to advance the early childhood workforce in Colorado. The full report can be found here.

Among the study’s findings:
• The average annual income of childcare workers in Colorado is just above the poverty threshold for a family of four and well below self-sufficiency standards for one adult, one preschooler and one school-age child.

• The early care and education industry is unique because it enables parents to work, generating over $4.4 billion in earnings across the economy.

• Because the wages of early care and education professionals are so low, many receive public subsidies to make ends meet. We estimate this costs the state of Colo

• Potential innovative solutions to address this market failure include improving counties’ tiered reimbursement structures to incentivize quality and the provision of care for infants and toddlers

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