Center for the Child Care Workforce (CCW) - Early Childhood Education - Pedagogy

Early Childhood Education

Center for the Child Care Workforce (CCW)


The Center for the Child Care Workforce (CCW) is a nonprofit research, education, and advocacy organization committed to improving early childhood education quality by upgrading the compensation, working conditions, and training of teaching and care-giving professionals. The Center is now a project of the American Federation of Teachers Educational Foundation (CCW/AFTEF).

CCW was founded in 1978 in Berkeley, California, as the Child Care Employee Project (CCEP). Formed by a group of preschool teachers concerned about the poor compensation and low status characteristic of their profession, CCEP began conducting independent research on the early childhood education workforce, building a national network of peers with similar concerns, and developing research, policy, and organizing resources for the field. The organization moved its headquarters to Washington, DC, in 1994, and became the Center for the Child Care Workforce in 1997. In 2002, CCW merged with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the nation’s largest growing union of professionals representing pre-K-12 grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; nurses, and healthcare workers; and federal, state, and local government employees.

The group’s landmark research project, The National Child Care Staffing Study (1989), was the first to document the status of the early childhood education workforce nationwide, and established a clear link between the quality of care and education that young children receive and the compensation and stability of their teachers. Other key research includes Then and Now: Changes in Child Care Staffing, 1994-2000, the first longitudinal study of staffing and stability in child-care centers.

Several publications and training models developed by CCW are now widely used by educators, advocates, and others in the field to enhance the leadership and organizing skills of early childhood education practitioners. Taking on Turnover offers strategies for improving child-care center staff retention; Creating Better Child Care Jobs provides an assessment framework for home-based and center- based programs on the quality of the adult work environment. CCW’s Leadership Empowerment Action Project (LEAP) model has been replicated in communities across the country, helping front-line teaching staff work more effectively for improvements in compensation and working conditions.

From 1991 to 1999, CCW served as national coordinator of the Worthy Wage Campaign, a national grassroots effort to empower the workforce itself to press for staffing solutions. The campaign was instrumental in raising public awareness of early childhood education workforce issues and promoting activism, policy initiatives and legislative activity at the federal, state and local levels. CCW has also been instrumental in developing solutions to problems in the field, cofounding the California Early Childhood Mentor Program in 1988, and creating the California CARES model, an initiative that provides stipends to early childhood educators who make a commitment to staying in the field by pursuing professional development.

As a project of the AFTEF, CCW/AFTEF has broadened the scope of its public policy work by establishing a new link between early childhood educators and teachers in elementary and secondary schools. For more information, visit

Dori Mornan and Marci Young