Advocacy & Recommendations

Iowa AEYC represents the efforts of early childhood educators before the state and federal government, helping legislators and policymakers understand the importance of the work early childhood educators do. We work to build public awareness about early childhood and early childhood issues through advocacy and outreach. We advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children.

We are committed to the creation and implementation of an early care and education system in Iowa that will ensure every child, beginning at birth, is healthy and successful. The first 2,000 days are critical to a child’s future well-being, ability to learn, and overall life success.

In response to the latest research on brain development and how children learn, and what we know about return on early childhood investments, we fully support the need for access to high-quality programming and an educated workforce for each and every child in our state, prenatal to age eight.

Research & Recommendations

2023 Iowa Child Care Workforce Study

This recent 2023 study provides comprehensive data on directors and the licensed early care and education programs in which they work.

2023 Recommended Salary Scale

In a first-of-its-kind release in Iowa, we present a recommended salary scale for all early care and education professionals in Iowa, based off data and findings from the 2023 Iowa Child Care Workforce Study.

Moving the Needle on Compensation Recommendations

Our vision for a stable ECE workforce in Iowa: Iowa’s ECE workforce is recognized as professional and compensated competitively.

Increase funding to adequately support and sustain statewide Child Care WAGE$® Iowa and T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Iowa
Consider ‘Early Care and Education’ a 
high demand occupation
Implement a salary scale for ECE tied to professional levels identified in NAEYC’s Unifying Framework for the ECE workforce

Child Care WAGE$® Iowa provides salary supplements to ECE providers to incentivize retention and continued education. State funding supported expansion to all 99 counties for FY22. T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Iowa provides comprehensive scholarships to support individuals towards increased education. Sustained funding for both programs will be critical to continue to grow and maintain quality educators.

Across Iowa, staffing shortages and child care deserts continue to threaten employers in a range of industries. A strong ECE workforce directly supports parents in their ability to secure and maintain employment, improving economic conditions for all Iowans. Adding ECE to the high-demand occupation list will open funding opportunities to assist the high cost of professionalizing the field as well as create market competition to drive salary increases.

The recommended salary scale will introduce competitive salaries that are linked to specific educator levels as identified by NAEYC’s Unifying Framework (ECE I, ECE II and ECE III). The levels are tied to increasing skill in the field through formal education and competencies. As the workforce is recognized with competitive wages on par with similar occupations, more workers will be drawn into the sector and turnover will decrease as these earners move toward economic self-sufficiency.

Read the full document here.

Additional Resources

Get involved

Make a difference by participating in advocacy events or joining one of our Professional Engagement Groups.

Support Iowa AEYC

Your donation supports training and professional development initiatives and connects early childhood educators to tools and resources.

Become a member

Connect with other early childhood educators in your area and take part in professional development opportunities.