Advancing the Education of the ECE Workforce & Higher Education Workgroup

Workgroup Focus:

Children need diverse, well-educated, and skilled ECE professionals. A key to advancing the early childhood education (ECE) profession is fostering a well-educated and trained staff. At the same time those well-educated and skilled educators are shaped by the quality of their education, preparing them to care for and educate young children. The newly combined (in 2024) Advancing the Education of the Workforce & Higher Education Workgroup aims to provide guidance and recommendations to assist national and state agencies and institutions of higher education (IHEs) that govern and monitor content and quality of preparation programs with specific early childhood field needs. The workgroup aims to ensure access and affordability for diverse educators to programs using various pathways (ex., High school to community college to four-year college to master’s degree programs, credit for prior learning, apprenticeships, etc.), support course articulation and transfer from one education pathway to another and support quality higher education options for early educators that meet their professional needs and related career pathways. This work also includes identifying strategies and working to create systems that encourage, promote, support and reward early childhood professionals while providing resources and advocacy tools to assist in obtaining and advancing their education.  The workgroup oversees the Early Educator Certification (EEC) system which directly certifies the individual education of the early childhood professional based on levels of education.

Workgroup Co-Chairs:

Cathy Collie-Robinson, Durham Technical Community College/ Institute Board Member

Norma Honeycutt, Partners in Learning Child Development & Family Resource Center/ Institute Board Member

Workgroup Members:

Edith LockeChild Care Services Association/ Institute Board Member
Consuellis Hawkins-CrudupEast Coast Migrant Head Start/ Institute Board Member
Christy HopkinsStanly Community College
Amy SmithWestern Carolina Community Action
Dr. Brenda K. WilliamsonNC Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE)
Mary TowellNC PreK Teacher
Deidre McMahonSouthwestern Child Development Commission, Inc./ Institute Board Member
Mary OlveraNC Community College System Office
Erin Speer SmithNAEYC/ Institute Board Member
Archana “Anu” HegdeEast Carolina University/ Institute Board of Directors
Mary HarrillNational Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
Kristi SnuggsEarly Years (formerly Child Care Services Association)
Kathryn AldridgeUNC Greensboro
Amanda VestalUNC-Charlotte; Early Educator Support Office
Gail MazyckShaw University
Amy DuffyEarly Years (formerly Child Care Services Association)
Irina FallsUNC-Pembroke
Clay SmithUniversity of NC System
Stephanie ClarkChild Care Solutions-CCR&R
Tonia PadrickJohnston Community College
Vickie BrinkleyRetired-Rockingham Community College/ Institute Board of Directors
Renae Lingafelt-BeekerChild Care Resource Center
Tori BlackNC Division of Child Development and Early Education
Sharon LittleEarly Years (Formerly Child Care Services Association)
Susan Butler-StaubNC-AEYC Board/Child Care Aware

Workgroup Highlights and Related Work:

In 2024, the Institute made the decision to combine the Advancing the Education of the Workforce Workgroup and the Higher Education Workgroup into one combined group since so much of the work overlaps.

In the summer of 2023, the Advancing the Education of the Workforce (AEW) Workgroup took the initiative to begin the creation of a newsletter to highlight news from the Institute and other sources for the Early Childhood community across NC. The 1st edition was released in August 2023. In 2024, the Institute began being featured in fellow ECE partner organization newsletters including TEACH TALK.

T.E.A.C.H. Talk- May 2024 (see p. 2)

The Institute Board of Directors and Higher Education Workgroup has worked tirelessly over the years on behalf of better and stronger articulation/transfer opportunities for Early Childhood Education AAS degree students into ECE bachelor degree and Birth to Kindergarten licensure and non-licensure programs. In 2017, the Institute’s Higher Education workgroup began and led the effort in establishing NC legislation that would work to ensure a statewide articulation agreement opportunity for Early Childhood Education students. This uniform articulation agreement between the University of North Carolina Early Childhood Education and Birth to Kindergarten programs and the NC Community College System Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree programs was established and put into effect Fall 2018.

In 2021, the Higher Education Workgroup partnered with the National Association for the Education of Young Children in creating a higher education survey tailored for NC Early Childhood and B-K Higher Education faculty at all levels (associate degree, bachelor degree, master degree and doctoral degree) across the state. This survey was designed to learn more about NC’s higher education programs and faculty members as well as specific challenges faced in higher ed. ECE programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The National NAEYC report from this survey can be found here. The specific NC data may be downloaded below.

Additional Resources related to Education of the Early Childhood Workforce can be found here.

Additional Resources related to Early Childhood Higher Education can be found here.

©AWS - 2023 NC Institute for Child Development Professionals, PO Box 959, Chapel Hill, NC 27514