ECE Works! is an early care and education (ECE) public policy project of First 5 LA aimed at creating policy change to promote and professionalize the ECE workforce and increase investment in the sector to promote long-term retention. Through the ECE Works campaign First 5 LA is creating a movement and building a strong network of business and civic leaders to support increased investment in the early care and education workforce. First 5 LA has partnered with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) and the UCLA Anderson School of Management to underscore the significance of the ECE workforce on the local and national economy and mobilize a coalition and create long-term sustainable change for the early care and education industry. ECE Works! is the centerpiece of First 5 LA's public policy work within its $50+ million workforce investment portfolio.
ECE Works! public policy goals work to advance the achievement of First 5 LA’s umbrella Public Policy Agenda and specifically supports two of the First 5 LA Public Policy Agenda goals: advance public policies for the early care and education workforce that 1) strengthen prenatal-to-5 workers and 2) expand access to, and improve, the quality of early care and education. The specific ECE Works! policy goals are outlined in First 5 LA’s Early Care Education Career Development Policy Project Policy Agenda which focuses on advancing public policies for the early care and education workforce which supports First 5 LA’s broader goal of ensuring that children are ready for kindergarten. The Career Development Policy Agenda makes specific recommendations for increased investment in the early care and education workforce.
Investment in the early care and education workforce directly benefits children, as high quality early care and education requires:
- Teachers who are well-educated, well-trained, and well-compensated resulting in low staff turnover
- Small class sizes, with high teacher-child ratios
- Early interventions (i.e., children are younger than 5 years old)
- Interventions that focus on the whole child
- Relationships between teachers and children are central to learning.
- Children who are viewed as active and experimental learners.