Hear from The Collaborative’s Director, Dr. Ola J. Friday, in our Op-Ed in The Hechinger Report exploring how states are implementing innovative approaches to increase compensation for the early childhood education workforce, including our new grantees in CO, LA, and DC.




In 2023, the Early Educator Investment Collaborative (The Collaborative) awarded $9M in grants to support public systems innovations in increasing wages and benefits for the ECE workforce. These grants will support partnerships between fiscal agencies and program departments in their efforts to implement activities towards long-term, sustained increases to the salaries and benefits of lead teachers and other ECE professionals. The grantees will focus on innovations in financial systems, including new dedicated revenue streams and revamped spending, enhanced data collection and modeling to inform policy, and greater collaboration between agencies in support of improving workforce compensation.

Learn more about our new grantee partnership teams below.

Our Grantees

The Collaborative’s new grantee partnership teams include government agencies and additional partners. The lead grantee partners are listed below, along with full partnership team details and an overview of each team’s grant-funded activities in support of increased and sustainable ECE compensation.


Partnership Team:

  • Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC, Lead Grantee Partner)
  • Colorado Office of the Governor
  • Colorado Department of Education
  • Colorado Department of Higher Education
  • Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Economic Security
  • Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
  • Office of Economic Development and International Trade

Colorado’s grant-funded activities will include:

  • Enhance the Colorado Early Childhood Teacher Salary Increase Pilot by gathering data on compensation parity for early childhood teachers.
  • Conduct a study to articulate the true cost of quality child care and design a financing mechanism to ensure that increased funding is passed through to ECE staff.
  • Submit a state budget request for a universal salary increase for all early childhood educators.
  • Establish new CDEC positions (such as a compensation analyst and project coordinator) and liaison positions across key state agencies.

District of Columbia

Partnership Team:

  • Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE, Lead Grantee Partner)
  • Office of Budget and Performance Management
  • D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority

D.C.’s grant-funded activities will include:

  • Implement, evaluate and document the Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund through outreach, data systems enhancement, and development of new supports and resources.
  • Expand health insurance for early educators through data enhancements, education, and outreach efforts.
  • Support continuing education for early childhood educators by reducing barriers to completion and analyzing funding and scholarship sources.
  • Explore new funding streams to ensure OSSE is making use of all possible sources.


Partnership Team:

  • Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (Lead Grantee Partner)
  • Louisiana Office of the Governor
  • Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Louisiana Board of Regents
  • City of New Orleans Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families
  • Point Coupée Early Childhood Community Network
  • Agenda for Children / New Orleans Early Education Network
  • Louisiana Association for the Education of Young Children
  • For Providers by Providers
  • Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana

Louisiana’s grant-funded activities will include:

  • Implement compensation demonstration projects in key local communities that can be scaled across the state.
  • Collect data on early childhood educators to track their progress and identify what works best to improve their pay.
  • Advance statewide policies to improve compensation.

Community of Practice

Grantees will participate in a Community of Practice (CoP) starting in the second year of the grant term. The CoP will facilitate peer learning, identifying commonalities across projects, collectively problem-solving challenges that arise during implementation, and sharing innovations and lessons learned to wider audiences. A central feature of the CoP will be rapid cycle learning, analysis, and formative process improvements. Challenges encountered and lessons learned will be quickly sourced from the grantees and shared out to wider audiences. We look forward to sharing session details and resources once the CoP has commenced.