The Pamoja Early Childhood Education Workforce Program

Deborah Teaching Early CHildhood Courses to First Cohort of women who are refugees from Afghanistan.

Empowering Communities Globally (ECG) in partnership with Lutheran Family Services of the Rocky Mountains have received a one year innovative early childhood workforce grant to expand The Pamoja Early Childhood Education Workforce Program. This program builds a career pathway for women from both Afghanistan and Swahili-speaking countries. Multiple layers of support are designed to prepare refugee and immigrant populations to enter the early care and learning (ECE) workforce with success.

Early childhood educators are a major contributor to a child’s healthy development. High-quality early care and education (ECE) provides many short and long-term benefits to children and families. A stable and skilled workforce is key to quality. Communities across Colorado lack the workforce needed to provide these important services to families. The population of children under the age of four in Colorado is expected to increase by 10% over the next two years and 22% by 2026. A majority of ECE program directors report difficulty finding and retaining qualified staff.  In addition, the early childhood education workforce in Colorado lacks important diversity and cultural representation.

Empowering Communities Globally (ECG) is working to increase the diversity of the ECE workforce to meet the growing diversity of children in services, including those living in poverty, dual language learners, and children with special needs.  The Pamoja Early Childhood Education Workforce Program is a unique opportunity to provide quality ECE training, to support the efforts of refugee and immigrant services and to access to a new and diverse workforce to meet these demands.

Nicole Sager teaching English Classes with Early Childhood Content to First Cohort of women who are refugees from Afghanistan.

The ECG 5-Step Model incorporates the The Diversity-Informed Tenets for Work with Infants, Children and Families as a guide to strengthen our work with underrepresented groups in the early childhood workforce. The Tenets (website for live link  are a set of strategies and tools for strengthening the commitment and capacity of professionals, organizations and systems that serve infants, children and families to embed diversity, inclusion and equity principles into their work.

This grant is a public-private partnership led by Early Milestones Colorado that includes Gary Community Investments, The Buell Foundation, the Colorado Department of Education, and the Colorado Department of Human Services. Rose Community Foundation serves as fiscal sponsor for the grant-making effort, and Mathematica Policy Research provides technical assistance and evaluation.


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