The Advancing Early Education Collaborative in Washington, DC
Year 1 Summary
Early educators in Washington, DC, earn the lowest salaries among early educators in the greater Washington region, at just $16,442 annually. Wage disparities also exist along racial lines: Black and Hispanic early educators, who make up three-quarters of the early educators in the District, earn $2.80 and $4.50 less in hourly wages, respectively, than white early educators in the region. Furthermore, because of the ongoing impacts of structural racism, women of color—who make up a large share of workers in early learning settings—are subject to pay inequities and resource constraints such as personal debt and caretaking burdens. Systemic challenges are also present in postsecondary education settings, as these institutions have not always been accessible to people of color and have often made it difficult to transfer credits between institutions.
In January 2022, through the support of JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities initiative, a partnership of local community support organizations and universities came together to create the Advancing Early Education Collaborative (AEEC), with the aim of enhancing early education career pathways for Black and Latina women in Wards 7 and 8 and improving the overall quality of early education in Washington, DC. This brief covers the AEEC’s efforts and achievements during the first year of the three-year AdvancingCities grant.
Key accomplishments included supporting 93 students through the AEEC program, developing a shared referral process among partners to connect students to wraparound support services, and hosting design sessions with seven early learning center directors in DC to obtain input on the Shared Services Plus pilot program, which will launch in early 2023. A focus group with AEEC participants also revealed some of the aspirations of and challenges faced by women who are working to advance their careers in early education.