IAFC Applauds Signing of Bill Addressing ECE Workforce Needs

July 28, 2021

IAFC statement on Governor Pritzker signing HB 2878 into law

Illinois Action for Children applauds Governor Pritzker for signing House Bill 2878 into law, addressing the unique needs of the early care and education workforce: women, and women of color specifically, who work full-time, have families, and often require flexibility in college course schedules, location, and format.

The law, championed by Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas and Representative Katie Stuart, establishes the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity. This coordinated initiative among the state’s two- and four-year higher education institutions seeks to better support our incumbent early childhood educators in their own educational careers, allowing students to access courses at different institutions and ensuring students can transfer to four-year universities without losing any credits or having to re-take courses.

“This bill is a game changer. It unites two-year and four-year universities to serve the incumbent child care workforce like never before,” said Mark Barrett, V.P. of Early Learning Programs at Illinois Action for Children. “Focusing higher ed on an ambitious goal for serving educators already in the profession, most of whom are women and many of whom are women of color is a bold step in advancing racial and economic equity.”

Additionally, federal funds have been dedicated to support students, including scholarships to cover tuition, books, and other costs. An advisory committee of early childhood employers, advocates, and higher education partners will help guide the Consortium’s progress.