Child care workers have an undeniable impact on shaping a child’s successful development. Yet they remain in the near-bottom percentile when all occupations are ranked by annual earnings. Even as wages decrease, demand for a highly educated early childhood workforce is increasing. In order to advance the healthy development of children and the strength of communities, it is crucial that the United States develops innovative solutions to improve the quality of the early childhood workforce. One innovative model is well-established in other industries: registered apprenticeships.
A young child’s healthy development requires stable, caring, interactive, and positive relationships with their parents, family members, and other caregivers. These adults help shape a child’s earliest experiences, which affects their chances for success throughout life: The emotional and physical health, social skills, and cognitive and linguistic capacities that emerge in the early years are all important for success in school, the workplace, and in the larger community.
In today’s economy, an increasing number of children from working families are benefiting from relationships with caregivers outside of the home. These individuals have an undeniable impact on shaping a child’s successful development, as demonstrated by decades of neurological and child development outcomes. Additionally, these caregivers allow parents to work and go to school to provide for their families.