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Early Childhood Workforce Development Research Alliance


The Early Childhood Workforce Development Research Alliance brings together early childhood leaders from across the region to identify and use evidence to refine programs and policies aimed at increasing early childhood teachers’ degree attainment, credentials, and compensation, and to strengthen professional development plans and activities.


  • Support workforce development initiatives in the region through evidence-based training, coaching, and applied research.
  • Use research and data to enhance early childhood workforce knowledge and competencies.
  • Develop evidence-based strategies to improve teacher working conditions and compensation, with the goal of retaining a high-quality workforce.


Clare WatermanDr. Clare Waterman
Research Scientist
REL Northeast & Islands

Audrey GalloAudrey Gallo
Research Associate
REL Northeast & Islands


Coaching Project: Massachusetts Early Education and Care Competency Measurement Project
REL Northeast & Islands is partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) to provide support in the implementation of their new state early childhood workforce credentialing system. The project will provide information on best practices in developing a competency-based measurement approach, including a summary of evidence-based approaches for measuring the competencies of early childhood educators. This coaching project will also help Massachusetts EEC achieve continued participation and buy-in for the new credentialing system, develop a greater understanding of what information can be gleaned from the data in the system, and inform relevant policy and systems development decisions.

Coaching Project: Massachusetts Early Childhood Workforce Data Catalog
REL Northeast & Islands partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care to systematically document the breadth and quality of early childhood workforce data collected by the department. The project also identified additional data elements from existing data systems that are most aligned with the department’s key priority areas.

Coaching Project: Rhode Island Early Childhood Leader Competency Framework Utilization Survey Development
REL Northeast & Islands is partnering with the Rhode Island Department of Education and Rhode Island Department of Human Services to develop a survey that examines how the state’s approximately 900 early childhood education coordinators are using the state’s Workforce Knowledge and Competency (WKC) Framework for early childhood administrators and education coordinators. The state intends to administer the survey, which will collect data on the extent to which education coordinators are aware of the WKC framework, are using the framework to inform their practice, and face barriers to adopting the framework into their practice.

Research Study: Center- and Program-Level Factors Associated with Early Childhood Workforce Turnover
High-quality early education is positively associated with children’s academic and social skills; yet states face major challenges in retaining a qualified and high-quality early childhood workforce. For this study, REL Northeast & Islands partnered with the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood to identify promising policies and practices that can reduce turnover among early childhood educators, beyond raising wages. To do so, researchers analyzed secondary data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education, a nationally representative survey of workforce members in center-based early childhood programs. Learn more.

Webinar: Financing Early Educator Preparation, Support, and Compensation: A Conversation About State Action Steps (March 27, 2019)
This webinar provided findings from the National Academies report Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education. Dr. Lynn Karoly, senior economist from RAND Corporation, provided a broad overview of the report and presented specific recommendations related to supporting the education, skills, and credentials of the early education workforce. Dr. Ola Friday from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care engaged Dr. Karoly in a discussion around action steps states can take that align with recommendations in the report. View event details.

Webinar: The Path Forward for the Early Education Workforce: National Policies and Examples from Vermont (October 19, 2017)
Hosted in collaboration with the Vermont Universal PreK Research Partnership, this webinar introduces participants to The Early Childhood Workforce Index, a 2016 report that provides the first comprehensive look at early childhood workforce issues and policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Co-author Dr. Caitlin McLean presents specific findings and implications raised by the report. Following this presentation, Vermont early childhood leaders Melissa Riegel-Garrett and Tierney O’Meara discuss their state’s universal prekindergarten initiative and its implications for the state’s early childhood workforce. View event details.


Name Title Organization State/Territory
Dee Baecher-Brown President Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands U.S. Virgin Islands
Jocelyn Bowne Director, Research & Preschool Expansion Grant Administration Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) Massachusetts
Sherry Cleary Executive Director New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute New York
Ola Friday Associate Commissioner of Workforce Development Massachusetts EEC Massachusetts
Rey Garofano Early Childhood & Afterschool Systems Administrator, Child Development Division, Department of Children and Families (DCF) Vermont Agency of Human Services (AHS) Vermont
Amy Henderson Program Services Officer Rhode Island Department of Human Services Rhode Island
Elizabeth Jaeger Associate Professor University of the Virgin Islands U.S. Virgin Islands
Renee Kelly Vermont Head Start Collaboration Director, Child Development Division, DCF Vermont AHS Vermont
Zoe McGrath Instruction, Assessment & Curriculum Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) Rhode Island
Barbara Moody Child and Family Services Director Midcoast Maine Community Action Program Maine
Lisa Nugent Instruction, Assessment & Curriculum RIDE Rhode Island
Lynne Robbins Early Childhood and Afterschool Systems Specialist, DCF Vermont AHS Vermont
Anna Scarbriel Co-Director Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands U.S. Virgin Islands