Press Releases

Kuster Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Address Child Care Workforce Shortage

**The child care workforce, which has been one of the slowest sectors to recover from COVID, is projected to lose another 232,000 jobs without congressional action**


Washington, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH) introduced the Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act,
alongside Reps. Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), Bonamici (D-OR), and Lawler (R-NY). This legislation will address the child care workforce shortage by investing in career and technical education (CTE) programs and incentivizing more students to enter the early childhood workforce upon graduation. 


“We are facing a full-blown child care crisis here in New Hampshire and all across our country. Hardworking parents need access to affordable, quality child care to return to the workforce and fully participate in our economy,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “We must do more to strengthen our child care infrastructure and invest in the next generation of providers. I was proud to introduce the Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act to recruit more child care providers and support the industry.”


“In a recent survey of Oregon parents, 40 percent responded that they had to change career plans because they couldn’t find child care. Part of the problem is a shortage of providers, which also drives up costs,” Congresswoman Chavez-DeRemer said. “By expanding access to early childhood education programs, this bipartisan legislation will help establish more child care services in our communities. I’ll continue working to ensure hardworking families can find high-quality, affordable care for their children.”


“Our country has a serious lack of affordable, accessible child care. To close the gap we must prepare more people to become skilled child care workers,” said Congresswoman Bonamici. “The Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act will expand and strengthen career and technical education (CTE) programs for early childhood education, helping more students gain the experience and knowledge they need to become effective early childhood educators. As Co-Chair of the bipartisan CTE Caucus and the Pre-K and Child Care Caucus, I’m glad to lead this important legislation with my colleagues Reps. Kuster, Lawler, and Chavez-DeRemer.”


“A solid foundation in early childhood education is essential to equip students for later success. That’s why the nationwide shortage of early childhood educators is so concerning,” said Congressman Lawler. “To that end, I’m proud to join Reps. Kuster, Chavez-DeRemer, and Bonamici in introducing the bipartisan Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act, which will confront this shortage head-on.”


Specifically, the Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act would:

  • Award grants to eligible partnerships such as institutions of higher education, child care providers, or relevant workforce training programs with schools;
  • Establish, expand, or support career and technical education and career pathway programs of study in early childhood education. 

The full bill text is available here.



This legislation is endorsed by the Association of Career and Technical Education, AdvanceCTE, First Five Years Fund, ZERO TO THREE, National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Save the Children, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), National Partnership for Women & Families, Early Care & Education Consortium (ECEC), First Focus Campaign for Children, Child Care Aware, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), National Education Association (NEA), NEA-NH, Children’s Defense Fund, Midwest Urban Strategies, and the Bipartisan Policy Center.


“Early educators are the backbone of our workforce. Despite their essential work, the United States has never properly invested in recruiting and retaining these workers, which has led to a severe shortage of early educators in communities across the country,” said Whitney Pesek, Director of Federal Child Care Policy at the National Women’s Law Center. “The Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act would help address this shortage by establishing career pathway opportunities in early childhood education to help attract and train more early educators.”


“Early learning educators are the backbone of the child care sector - fostering critical experiences for children while allowing parents to go to work or school,” said FFYF Executive Director Sarah Rittling. “But it has become increasingly hard for providers to find and retain early childhood educators, leading to pressure on an already strained child care sector and fewer options for working families who need this care. The bipartisan Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act will help recruit and retain more early educators, strengthening the sector and making child care more accessible for working families with young children. We're grateful for the leadership from Reps. Kuster (D-NH), Bonamici (D-OR), Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), and Lawler (R-NY) in this important work.”


"Early childhood educators not only provide invaluable support to families and children, but also serve as important partners in cultivating a passion for lifelong learning,” said Kate Kreamer, Executive Director of Advance CTE. “The Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act intentionally leverages Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and ensures that these efforts are connected to ongoing state and local efforts to strengthen early educator workforce pipelines. Advance CTE is pleased to support this legislation and appreciates Representatives Kuster, Lawler, Bonamici, and Chavez-DeRemer's leadership in elevating CTE as a model to address this critical workforce challenge." 

“Millions of children who potentially require child care services lack access due in large part to the child care workforce shortage, which if left unaddressed will continue to negatively impact parental choice and critical access to quality child care programming,” said Linda K. Smith, Director of the Early Childhood Initiative at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “We applaud Reps. Kuster (D-NH), Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), Bonamici (D-OR), and Lawler (R-NY) for their bipartisan introduction of The Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act, which establishes a career and technical education grant to bolster the child care workforce pipeline. Training for the child care workforce is most effective when it is consistent and long-term, but high-density training is the most challenging to arrange and afford. This bill will help ensure that the child care workforce not only has access to resources and training, but the training required for the best outcomes for children.” 


"The Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act would expand opportunities for students to prepare for critical jobs in childcare and education, where we know there are extreme shortages,” said LeAnn Curry, Executive Director of the Association of Career and Technical Education. “By funding high-quality CTE programs of study and wrap-around supports, we can ensure students in early childhood education have access to stackable credentials and postsecondary education opportunities that can increase their employment options and future success."