The Role of Registered Apprenticeships in the Early Childhood Workforce
The ECE workforce in the U.S. is facing many challenges, including high staff turnover, disparities in training and resources, and inadequate compensation. These challenges significantly impact the ECE field. Further, they strain our broader economy which depends on high-quality early childhood programs so families with young children can participate in the workforce. RA programs are a promising strategy to address these issues that some states are already starting to explore.
RA programs offer a valuable investment in the ECE workforce by providing high-quality professional learning and fair compensation. Apprentices gain knowledge through on-the-job training and professional development that aligns with their career goals and interests. Early childhood programs benefit by having trained and committed RAs on staff. RAs also benefit the private sector by ensuring a skilled and diverse workforce and providing quality child care options for working parents.
WRMA’s Role and the Early Childhood Workforce Connector
On behalf of the DOL, WRMA and our partners established the Early Childhood Workforce Connector to develop and scale early childhood RA programs in support of a diverse and inclusive workforce. ECWC offers technical assistance at no cost to state agencies, program sponsors, ECE providers, and other employers with the goal of establishing and growing RA programs.
At the start of the project, WRMA identified the need for branding and marketing materials. We provided strategic direction on marketing and best practices for outreach and recruitment. Central to the work was the development and launch of a 508-compliant website to provide outreach and resources from the ECWC. Additionally, the team designed a logo, branding materials, and Microsoft Office templates to support marketing efforts. WRMA then developed customized outreach, marketing, recruitment, and retention strategies and materials for ECWC stakeholders.
WRMA leverages networks to connect participants with local workforce development boards and access to financial incentives and funding resources to expand RA programs. Our ECE subject matter experts support curriculum development, instruction outlines, occupational guides, and competency-based models that prioritize diversity and inclusion. This will ensure that RA programs are not just robust but also responsive to the evolving needs of the ECE sector.
WRMA collaborates with and supports the Kentucky Governor’s Office of Early Education to scale its three ECE RA programs. Additionally, the team works closely with the Council for Professional Recognition, which administers the Child Development Associate® (CDA) National Credentialing Program.
Learn more at www.ecwconnector.org.