Area 6: Quality Workforce Development

Quality Workforce Development and Supports

Hawaiʻi’s early care and education programs are dependent on a sufficient, reliable, qualified, and adequately compensated early childhood workforce. This plan outlines strategies to better understand and strengthen Hawaiʻi’s early childhood workforce. It includes positioning our state to act on recommendations from Power to the Profession’s Unifying Framework for the Early Child Education Profession to improve the preparation, associated competencies and appropriate career pathways, compensation, shared infrastructure, and accountability of our early childhood workforce.

Key Priorities for Collective Action

Ensure that education, licensure, and professional development programs lead to a well-prepared, highly-qualified workforce with the child development knowledge and skills most needed by early childhood educators and program administrators (including center administrators and school principals). (BB4 B, drawn from the Hawaiʻi Early Childhood State Plan, 2019-2024)

Introduce policies, programs, and coordinated incentives to address the barriers to recruitment and retention of a well-prepared early childhood workforce. (BB4 C, drawn from the Hawaiʻi Early Childhood State Plan, 2019-2024)

Objective 1

Clarify and improve alignment of early care and education career pathways from high school to continued education. (BB4 ii, modified)

Click to View Objective 1 Details


  • Executive Office on Early Learning

  • Hawaiʻi Association for the Education of Young Children

  • Kaulanakilohana


  • Needs Assessment

    • Conduct a needs assessment to identify career and education needs in Hawaiʻiʻs early childhood education field

  • Pathways

    • Develop comprehensive career pathways in alignment with validated employer requirements, professional standards and competencies, and communicate visually in a map of career pathways

    • Create a website access career pathways and map

    • Create a system that provides incentives for early care and education workforce to pursue continuing education opportunities

  • Preparation

    • Utilize Hawaiʻi’s framework for early care and education practitioners and establish a system of credentialing

    • Create more early care and education professional learning opportunities across the state

Indicators of Success

  • Crosswalk of employment requirements is completed and distributed

  • Clearly defined pathways exist for all public and private settings

  • Long-term: Number of qualified applicants has increased

  • Long-term: Recruitment and retention rates have increased

  • Long-term: State policy changes are enacted to support alignment with National Professional Standards and Qualifications

Objective 2

Finalize a shared trainer and training registry system that ensures best practices in professional development offerings, and ensures a wide array of public and private sector professional development opportunities are available statewide. (BB4 iii)

Click to View Objective 2 Details


  • Hawaiʻi Careers for Young Children

  • Kaulanakilohana


  • Develop a capacity building plan for needed trainers and higher education faculty positions

  • Create a system of mentoring and coaching embedded in coursework and in the field

  • Review, revise, and expand a database and clearinghouse of trainings (credit and non-credit)

  • Establish a trainer approval system

  • Create community-based hubs with support services and professional opportunities

Indicators of Success

  • Database of trainers and clearinghouse of trainings are accessible via a website

  • Long-term: A wide array of public and private sector professional development opportunities is available statewide

Objective 3

Implement an outreach and engagement plan to involve cross-sector leaders and champions in advocating for policies, practices, and incentives that increase compensation and support for the early childhood workforce. (BB4 vi)

Click to View Objective 3 Details


  • Early Childhood Action Strategy

  • Executive Office on Early Learning


  • Public Policy

    • Develop policy agenda and implement policy changes to support early care and education workforce around a mixed delivery system

  • Compensation

    • Strengthen and increase compensation packages and benefits for the early care and education workforce

  • Public Will

    • Increase public awareness and education about the significance and importance of high-quality early care and education and the need for more early care and education professionals through a targeted recruitment campaign

Indicators of Success

  • 1-2 business partners are engaged in public awareness and education campaign

  • Long-term: Mechanisms for incentives that increase compensation for early care and education workforce are established

  • Long-term: Higher retention of the early care and education workforce exists

Needs Assessment Summary

Size and Composition


  • 97% female

  • 2018 workforce size: 4,260; pre-Great Recession peak was 5,550; the greatest workforce loss was among preschool teachers and administrators

  • Based on number of working parents, 9,000 providers required


  • No significant change to size and composition from 2004-2019


  • Determine the number of workers required for a strong workforce

  • Identify workforce recruitment supports for underserved communities

  • Access how workforce capacity impacts size and composition of quality early care and education programs



  • Low pay commonly cited for teacher shortage; median annual income: child care workers, $26,090; preschool teachers, $38,840; administrators, $54,210 (self-sufficiency for one adult with a preschool aged child is $56,000/yr.)


  • Families want a workforce that is passionate about educating young children, academically and socially

  • Single greatest challenge to workforce development is lack of competitive compensation and benefits to attract and retain well-qualified workforce


  • Advocate for minimum wage increase which correlates to improved compensation in this workforce

Education and Professional Development


  • 58% of center-based lead teachers have four-year degree or higher; 67% have either a two-year or four-year degree in early childhood

  • 25% of family child care providers have no college experience

  • Eight early childhood education higher education programs in Hawaiʻi; degree costs $14,000-$20,000+/yr.


  • Lack of alignment among workforce preparation standards

  • Statewide investment in preparation programs has not been significant, including financial support for students; additionally, the training pipeline for positions that provide specialized services is insufficient

  • Educational pathway is fragmented and unavailable statewide


  • Align and update to national standards and competencies for early childhood educators

  • Update minimum educational standards for early care and education positions

  • Develop coherent and comprehensive career pathways for educators delivering quality early care and education services

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Additional Information

Area Summary

Full SIP

Hawaiʻi COP Framework

COP Facilitator Manual

Resources for Quality Workforce Development and Supports

Placeholder space for Individual SIP revisions (coming soon)