Early Childhood Workforce Innovation Grant

In 2018, the Larimer County Talent 2.0 Child Care Task Force estimated that we need at least 1,000 additional early childhood professionals to meet the current demand for childcare in our community for children birth to five.  The Early Childhood Council of Larimer County’s (ECCLC) project, Expanding Professional Possibilities in Early Childhood, is part of the state’s larger Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative. The Initiative is a public-private partnership led by Early Milestones Colorado that includes Gary Community Investments, Buell Foundation, the Colorado Department of Education, and the Colorado Department of Human Services.  The Initiative is designed to advance innovative solutions in one or more of the key levers for change: compensation, targeted recruitment, education and career pathways, and working conditions. The projects chosen exemplify a statewide desire to affect positive systemic and sustainable change across the early childhood workforce.

Early Childhood Council of Larimer County is excited to be among the five innovative partnerships taking on Colorado’s greatest early childhood workforce challenges. ECCLC’s grant will build upon the momentum of the first year of the project, with a goal “to broaden and diversify our qualified early childhood workforce in order to meet immediate and future community needs for quality early care and education.” Working in collaboration with Front Range Community College, Larimer County Economic and Workforce Development, and the Estes Park, Poudre and Thompson School Districts, efforts include an ongoing Early Childhood Education mentor teacher and cohort student model, as well as implementation of a high school apprenticeship program. The strategies for this year’s project are to:

Strategy 1: Provide integrated mentor and cultural consciousness training and coaching to support career growth of teachers and to foster supportive work environments.

Strategy 2: Recruit and support both new and existing people in the ECE field to become Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) qualified.

Strategy 3: Engage with business, local, and state leaders to identify and address policy solutions to workforce challenges.

The ECCLC’s mission is to bring the community together to share knowledge and resources, build expertise and work collaboratively to ensure that all young children in Larimer County have the care, support and opportunities necessary to grow, learn and succeed.