Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 44% of Georgians were estimated to live in child care deserts, defined as a census tract with 50 or more children under age five that contains no child care providers or so few options that there are more than three times as many children as licensed child care slots. The COVID-19 pandemic likely reduced availability even more. A major contributor to early care and education (ECE) deserts in Georgia is a persistent shortage of qualified ECE professionals. The ECE workforce is limited both by an insufficient inflow of credentialed educators and a persistent outflow of credentialed educators to K-12 settings. The churn in educators causes instability for children and their families while in care and increases the costs of hiring and training ECE professionals for ECE providers.
This project will examine the pathways and outcomes of prospective ECE professionals across a range of credentials and settings offered by various programs. The goal of the project is to understand the effectiveness of alternative credentialing pathways and the ways in which each pathway contributes to the supply of credentialed ECE professionals. The project will examine how varying characteristics of ECE professionals may impact completion to include geographic location, economic status, and race and ethnicity. Specifically, the project will use applied econometrics to examine the role of professional development in facilitating the supply and placement of ECE professionals.
- How do ECE program enrollment rates differ by program type or vary over time? What motivates students to enroll in a particular program? What challenges did they face in applying to the program?
- How do differing admission criteria across ECE programs relate to differences in enrollment rates?
- What are completion rates over time by credential type for students who enroll in an early care credential program?
- What is the relative likelihood of students completing the program, completing a different program, transferring, or dropping out, conditional upon enrolling in a credential program? Is ECE program completion related to different program admission criteria and program requirements?
- What challenges might they face during their course of study in the program? Why do some students drop out? What challenges did they face? What supports would have helped them remain? How did dropping out affect their career path?
- For those who completed their degree, what factors led to their success? What supports were available during the course of their program? Were certain supports helpful or not? What challenges did they face—did they overcome them? How did finishing the degree affect their career path?
- What is the average time to each of the completion outcomes? When do they occur in the process?
- What is the relative likelihood of students gaining a placement in an educational setting, gaining a placement in a non-educational setting, or not being employed, conditional upon enrolling in a credentialing program?