Career Ladder Project Documents
Background & Purpose
California’s early care and education (ECE) community has been discussing the need for a career ladder and revised certification system for several years. The Early Childhood Professional Development and Education Collaborative (EPEC)1 has been guiding a grassroots effort to develop recommendations for such systems, and through the Career Ladder Project (CLP) and has recently completed a statewide process to gather input from the full ECE community. This input can guide the state of California as it moves forward on establishing the state’s career ladder and new certification system. A career ladder establishes a series of levels each with a defined set of requirements that identify an individual's level of achievement. Typically, a career ladder uses a combination of education, training, and work experience to determine a person's level. State credentials, permits and requirements can be incorporated into a career ladder to produce a system that addressees the needs of the entire ECE community. Creating a career ladder is critical component in developing a comprehensive professional development system in California.
The purpose of the CLP was to (1) gather input as broadly and transparently as possible from California’s ECE field on the appropriate structure for an ECE career ladder for staff in licensed center based and family child care programs; (2) identify the most relevant career ladder exemplars from other states; and (3) compile this broad input for the official state entities responsible for developing a career ladder and revising ECE certification, as well as for setting ECE priorities for California. The project did not itself purport to develop the final career ladder nor revise ECE certification. Rather, the Career Ladder Project implemented two statewide online surveys and coordinated seven community focus groups to gather input from the field.
Over 3,000 stakeholders participated in the CLP. These stakeholders were from all areas of the ECE field including: center based programs, family child care, higher education faculty, researchers and regional/state agency representatives. Although the respondents were not a drawn from a representative sample of the early care and education community in California, they worked in all geographical areas of the state. A majority of the respondents were administrators, teachers and assistants working in center-based programs. In addition, over 300 family child care providers participated in the project, primarily working in Alameda, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Solano and Sacramento Counties. EPEC conducted an extensive outreach campaign to promote the online surveys and recruited a variety of ECE organizations to help promote the project. Focus groups were conducted in San Francisco, Alameda, San Diego, Shasta, Humboldt and Stanislaus Counties.
To contact EPEC please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org