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The Pickens Technical College Early Childhood Education course prepares you for a career working with children. With the training and experience you get in Jessica Cross’s class, you’ll be ready to take the next step, either in your education to become a teacher, child psychologist, or pediatric medical professional, or in your career in many possible child-related jobs. But once you break into the professional world of childcare, you’ll find many challenges, not only in Colorado and the Denver Metro Area but also throughout the United States. Issues of inequality and childcare access are prevalent. Fortunately, there are changes in the works, and you can participate in improving the childcare system where you find your job.

An opinion piece by associate professor of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia Amanda Williford in The Hill called on lawmakers and policymakers to help improve the state of childcare and Early Childhood Education in the United States. If Williford’s suggested improvements are ever actualized, and Williford herself acknowledges a few new laws that will help, the childcare system in the US will fundamentally change and open up new possibilities for you as an ECE worker.

The Bad News

ECE experts are needed now more than ever, with only half of US families able to access high-quality early childhood education programs. Overall, childcare costs have increased by 25% over the past ten years, leaving working-class families in the lurch. The result has been millions of children who don’t have the many advantages of those who attend high-quality early childcare programs.

The Good News

There is already ongoing bipartisan support for national programs to improve this situation. The Trump Administration has proposed an investment plan for states to use to provide incentives for businesses to provide more and better childcare. Two Democratic senators, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Patty Murray of Washington, have proposed plans that would offer free childcare to poor working families and double the number of children eligible for public childcare subsidies, respectively.

Where Does This Leave You?

As a future childcare professional, these changes and the potential for more to come to improve the national childcare system in the US, there could be more opportunities not only for entry-level professionals finding jobs but for the roles in those jobs to become more nuanced and complex as more children potentially enter childcare programs. While public education and childcare can be frustrating at times, the powers that be on both sides are realizing the value of these programs and the need for improvement. This could lead to more children having access to the advantages of early childhood education soon.

No matter what happens at the national level, education and childcare are priorities in a state struggling with graduation rates and inequality in its schools. By understanding the work that people like you will do every day to help children and their families, Colorado could lead the way in early childhood education in the near future.