The 2024 National Early Childhood Education Workforce Convening

On April 10-11, 2024, the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center, a division of Child Care Services Association (CCSA), hosted the 2024 National Early Childhood Education Workforce Convening at the Friday Conference Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This annual event brings together professionals from across the country who are working on advocacy, policy, funding, strategy development and systems building toward implementation and sustainability of programs, as well as strategies and funding that support early education systems nationally and in states and communities across the country. Attendees included luminaries in the early childhood education field like Dr. Calvin Moore, Jr., CEO of the Council for Professional Recognition, and Lauren Hogan, Strategic Advisor and Content Writer for NAEYC.

Dr. Calvin Moore, Jr.

“It is one of the few meetings in the country focused on ECE workforce issues. There are always thought-provoking conversations and a wealth of resources and examples of exemplar programming from the T.E.A.C.H. community,” said Dr. Moore.

There is always a lot to celebrate at the Convening, where so many notable advocates get the rare chance to gather together and exchange new ideas, crucial experiences, and necessary growth that has occurred recently in the early care and education field, in an effort to make vital improvements for all involved. This year was of particular excitement, as you could feel the anticipation of CCSA’s 50th anniversary surrounding the conference; it has been 50 years of CCSA leading efforts to strengthen accessible and affordable quality early care and education by providing supports for families, communities and the workforce, as well as contributing research and advocating for necessary policy change.

“Progress for children, families, and early educators has been a longstanding mission of CCSA.  We were proud to host a space for professionals from across the country to engage in inspiring conversations around early childhood workforce issues. Together we will find solutions to improve the education and compensation of the workforce because quitting is not an option,” shared CCSA President Dr. Kristi Snuggs.

Albert Wat, Ashley Otte and Beth Ann Lang

Dr. Snuggs started off the Convening with a welcome before the CEO of Providence Preparatory School, Sandy Weathersbee, the event’s Platinum Sponsor, shared some remarks on the importance of the Convening and the National Center and CCSA’s work. Next, Albert Wat, Senior Policy Director for the Alliance for Early Success, delivered a motivational keynote, A Call To Action, the Critical Need for ECE Workforce Advocacy. Wat gave the audience an exclusive look at the upcoming documentary “Make a Circle,” a film that “follows the directors and teachers at three child care centers over several years. When the pandemic pushes an already fragile childcare system to the brink, this ensemble of educators is determined to change how society values the education of its youngest citizens.” Everyone in the room could relate to the sentiment expressed in the clips, having experienced the growing nationwide child care crisis which was exacerbated by the pandemic, firsthand.

Marica Cox Mitchell, Lauren Hogan, Erica Phillips, Dr. Calvin Moore, Jr. and Dr. Kristi Snuggs

Wat was accompanied by Beth Ann Lang, Chief Program Officer for Child Care Aware® of Missouri, and Ashley Otte, Director of Workforce Initiatives for Iowa AEYC who shared their perspectives about the ongoing needs for grassroots advocacy.

The plenary session, Quitting is Not an Option, Persevering During Difficult Times, featured Marica Cox Mitchell, Vice President, Early Childhood, Barnum Family Foundation, who moderated a discussion between Lauren Hogan, Dr. Calvin Moore, Jr., Erica Phillips, Executive Director of NAFCC, and Dr. Kristi Snuggs. The panelists discussed a variety of topics, from short-term and tangible changes that could and should be made to benefit the early care and education field, to the requirements needed for the indispensable transformative changes to the field including compensation and governance.

Throughout the two-day event, attendees also had the opportunity to participate in 34 sessions on topics related to the early education workforce and systems building, including advancing equity and diversity in the field and emergent leadership development of T.E.A.C.H. and WAGE$ program staff.

“This is one of my favorite conferences where I learn very relevant information to implement in my role,” shared one Convening attendee. “I came away energized and reinvigorated with so many new connections and resources; heartfelt thanks to all of the organizers,” said another.

Thank you to all the speakers, sponsors, and staff members who helped make the 2024 National Early Childhood Education Workforce Convening a success! We will see you next year at the Convening on April 23-24, 2025.