The Gunnison–Hinsdale Early Childhood Council’s Elevate the Workforce program expands supports to the early childhood workforce in Gunnison County and Hinsdale County in Colorado through two initiatives. The first initiative provides paid sick leave to early childhood teachers in Gunnison and Hinsdale Counties in licensed care facilities, including home providers who do not currently receive paid sick leave benefits. The second initiative provides a stipend to early childhood teachers based on their early childhood credential level.
Brodsky Research explored the costs and benefits of these two initiatives and other early childhood workforce supports. Brodsky Research studied the implementation of the Elevate the Workforce program, studied lessons learned from early childhood education workforce support programs in other Colorado counties, and examined costs and benefits of the Elevate the Workforce program in the context of the early childhood education landscape. Finally, Brodsky Research provided the following recommendations to the Gunnison–Hinsdale Early Childhood Council for moving forward:
- Ensure that basic compensation for early childhood education professionals, including salary, health insurance, and paid time off, be brought into parity with other educators and other industries.
- Improve early childhood education professionals’ benefits packages, including sick leave, vacation/PTO, and health care benefits.
- Defray housing costs. Many early childhood education teachers are forced to commute or have to turn down jobs because moving and/or costs of living for counties with wide cost of living ranges, and especially resorts or large urban centers, are too high.
- Prioritize compensation before expecting more from early childhood educators.