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News from the Network: December 2021


News from the Network is a series from Building Bright Futures that spotlights a different priority each month from our 12 Regional Councils. Written by our Policy and Program Director Anna Brouillette, this update gives a closer look at BBF’s work across the state of Vermont to improve the well-being of young children and families. To subscribe to future emails, please submit your contact information.

Celebrating the Regional Council Summit
On December 1, over 80 Regional Council and statewide partners from every region of Vermont gathered for a BBF Regional Council Summit. The event featured celebrations of the Regional Councils’ work, prioritization of the most critical challenges facing the young children and families in their communities, small group breakout sessions where regions shared successes and challenges, and a roundtable discussion of partners from across the Vermont Early Childhood State Advisory Council Network sharing their experiences of the value of Regional Councils. We are thankful to everyone who was able to join the conversation, and are excited to support the work ahead for Regional Councils! If you were unable to attend the Summit, the recording of the event is available here.

A Spotlight on Workforce Development Priorities
Each month, Regional Councils gather to discuss, plan, and work towards addressing the annual priority actions based on the most pressing needs and gaps in their communities. In November, many of the 12 Regional Councils discussed topics and shared updates related to the priority area “Early Childhood Workforce Development.”

“Brain Architects” and a “Day in the Life” in Rutland County
In Rutland County, the Regional Council is taking a multipronged approach to early childhood workforce development and recruitment. During their November meeting, the Council discussed topics ranging from the language or framing surrounding early childhood educators (for instance, promoting them as “Brain Architects”) to other ways to promote and educate the community on the role of early childhood professionals. The Council plans on producing a “Day in the Life” video that will illustrate the dynamic and critical development and social-emotional work that early childhood educators do throughout the day. We are looking forward to seeing what they come up with and sharing it with the Network!

Data and the Workforce Shortage in Northern Windsor and Orange Counties
The Northern Windsor and Orange Regional Council has continued to focus on workforce development throughout the year as well. In November, the Council opened up their meeting to all Regional Councils and was joined by Assistant Chief of Economic & Labor Market Information Division Kevin Stapleton, who presented the data behind Vermont’s labor force shortage. The presentation further validated the area’s challenges with an early childhood workforce shortage; statewide, there was a decrease of over 200 individuals employed in child care programs from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020. In January, the Council plans on reviewing the information they gathered on the workforce crisis throughout the fall and thinking through strategic actions they can take as a group to address the priority.

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