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Grow Your Own ECE

Young children thrive when nurtured and educated by passionate, qualified educators who comprehend their unique needs. However, the supply of qualified professionals has diminished over time, prompting early care and education (ECE) programs in all settings (home-, center-, and school-based) to seek innovative strategies to continue operating. 

Grow Your Own is an umbrella term that describes the many and dynamic, community-driven, equity-centered, holistic approaches designed to help communities support, strengthen, and sustain a well-qualified, experienced, and diverse ECE workforce by nurturing the talents that exist within it and removing barriers to entering and staying in the field. These strategies attract individuals from diverse backgrounds and life experiences who are new to ECE (e.g., high school students, career changers, parents of young children, non-classroom program staff) to enter the field and assist the existing ECE workforce in meeting their career aspirations.  

Grow Your Own strategies support participants to earn credentials and degrees through a range of approaches that may include apprenticeship programs, cohort models, tuition assistance and scholarships, mentorship and leadership development, and prior learning assessment and credit for work experiences. They embrace every role within early care and education (ECE) programs—from lead educators and early intervention staff to special education teachers and directors. 

The National ECE Workforce Center Grow Your Own asks early childhood systems and program leaders and institutions of higher education to explore the potential of Grow Your Own initiatives for their own communities and offers a variety of tools and resources to support implementation of these strategies in your community. 



Learn more about the essential elements of implementing Grow Your Own strategies from experts and those with on-the-ground experience. 

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Apr172024

Grow Your Own ECE: Partnerships and Pathways

Past event
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EST

The National Early Care and Education (ECE) Workforce Center invites you to our webinar on April 17, 2024, from 12-1:30 […]

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Apr242024

Grow Your Own ECE: Nurturing and Supporting Talent

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EST

Join the National Early Care and Education (ECE) Workforce Center for the final installment of our Grow Your Own campaign […]

Happy diverse female business team meeting at desktop computer, watching presentation on monitor, talking about work tasks, smiling, laughing. Employee presenting project solution, showing content
Mar132024

Workforce Wednesday Webinar: Educator Voices on Grow Your Own Community-Driven Strategies 

Past event
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EST

Recording and slides are available by clicking on the link.

Happy diverse female business team meeting at desktop computer, watching presentation on monitor, talking about work tasks, smiling, laughing. Employee presenting project solution, showing content
Apr102024

Grow Your Own ECE: Catalyst for Recruitment

Past event
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EST

Join the National Early Care and Education (ECE) Workforce Center as we kick off the Grow Your Own Campaign. Learn […]

We will release new videos throughout April spotlighting several successful Grow Your Own initiatives in communities across the country. You can use these suggested social media posts (link coming soon) to share the videos with your networks. 

YMCA East Bay
View in Spanish

Navajo Technical University
View in Spanish

COMING APRIL 22
North Seattle College
View in Spanish

These tools are designed to support implementation of Grow Your Own strategies in your community. Stay tuned for additional resources released throughout the campaign.  

Grow Your Own ECE: An Introduction

This brief explores the transformative potential of Grow Your Own initiatives in strengthening and sustaining the early care and education […]

Published 2024

Grow Your Own ECE: Cultivating Community Partnerships

This brief expands upon the design and sustainability essential elements of Grow Your Own initiatives that are centered on solid […]

Published 2024