Defining the path for early care and education career development

The Texas Early Childhood Career Lattice is available now!  Also, learn more about how the Career Lattice will work within the Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System (TECPDS).

Almost 10% of the Texas population is under the age of 5, a trend that will continue to increase as the state's median age becomes younger and younger. With such a rapidly growing number of young children in Texas, our state must consider the status of the early care and education workforce. Therefore, recruiting, retaining, and developing quality early care and education professionals are key elements in the Texas Early Learning Council's efforts to improve school readiness in Texas.

The Council will develop a career lattice for early care and education professionals. Also known as a career ladder or career pathway, career lattices define the relationship between education, work experience, and ongoing professional development for early childhood professionals, from entry-level staff to experienced professionals with advanced degrees. The goal of the tool is to provide early care and education professionals with clear paths of professional development and career planning. As early care and education professionals progress in their development, through formal education, trainings, and work experience, they will be able to chart their progress on the career ladder.

The career lattice is just one element in the plan for a comprehensive professional development system for early care and education professionals in Texas, including a workforce registry, revised core competencies, new training opportunities, a college directory, and many other online resources. The career lattice will assist professionals in charting their progress in education, training, and work experience. While the lattice is an important element in supporting the early care and education workforce in Texas, it will be most effective when used in conjunction with the Council's other professional development efforts.

Several other states have implemented mandatory or voluntary career lattices. Texas initially researched and developed a rudimentary plan for an early care and education career lattice in 1993; however, it was not completed.  Currently, the Council is reviewing a draft lattice, developed by our Workforce and Professional Development Subcommittee. Soon we will invite the public to provide feedback on this important tool. The career lattice is intended to be implemented on a voluntary basis throughout the state.

An early care and education career lattice has benefits for program administrators, practitioners, and families. With this tool, program administrators will be better equipped to evaluate prospective employees and to make important staff promotion decisions.  The lattice will offer a clear standard to inform decisions related to salary increases and staff development. For practitioners, it will indicate the steps and training needed to increase their effectiveness in the profession, earn more money, and take on new challenges. For families, it could serve as a key tool in investigating the quality of care available in their communities. Parents could ask providers where their staff is located on the Texas Early Care and Education Career Lattice.

The Council's career lattice will soon be available for review. Program administrators, professionals, and families, the Council wants to hear from you regarding this important tool! Help us develop the best career lattice possible for early care and education professionals in Texas!

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