Early Childhood Educator Compensation Equity Study

Context of the Study

Research has shown that a diverse well-prepared, well-supported, and well-compensated early care and education (ECE) workforce is the linchpin to positive outcomes for young children. However, wages, benefits, working conditions for early educators serving children, from birth through kindergarten entry age, are not commensurate with the qualifications needed to provide high-quality early care and education. Therefore, recruitment and retention of the workforce has been challenging and this has been exacerbated by the covid pandemic.

ECE Landscape and Roadmap

To address this, the ECE³ Project commissioned RAND Corporation, a non-profit research organization, to conduct a study of the current landscape of ECE workforce wages, benefits, working conditions, recruitment and turnover issues in the state of Hawai’i. The study’s findings were based on existing and new data collected through interviews, focus groups, an online survey, and case studies. 

Along with the study’s findings, the final report by RAND identified policy and financing options and a high-level roadmap on how to advance these options in Hawaiʻi.

The funders of this study and final Report by RAND are Early Educator Investment Collaborative (EEIC), Samuel N & Mary Castle Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, and Hawaiʻi Community Foundation – Kōaniani Fund.

Link Between Research, Policy, and Practice

The RAND final report is one of the foundational steps to achieve the ECE³ Project’s mission. Using the final report as the basis, an ECE³ Compensation Task Force will develop a detailed action plan on how to improve wages, benefits, working conditions for early childhood educators serving children, birth through kindergarten entry age, in Hawaiʻi.

Related Articles:


Hawaii Business Magazine: October 2022 issue “Child Care is a Labor of Love,” by Noelle Jujii-Oride

Ever heard “Childcare is a labor of love”? This translates to “Childcare doesn’t pay a living wage”, but raising those wages would squeeze tens of thousands of working Hawai’i families dependent on child care. University of Hawaii Manoa’s ECE³ Alliance has teamed up with RAND to gather and report data on compensation equity in Hawai’i. Hawaii Business Magazine has written an article using data from the upcoming report to explain the problem and possible solutions for this dilemma.

Hawaii Business Magazine: September 2022 issue “Why We Shined a Light on Hawai‘i’s Child Care Providers” by Noelle Jujii-Oride

“We sought to document in words and pictures the lives of five women who provide care for keiki, plus investigate what’s being done to better support Hawai‘i’s child care workforce.”

Hawaii Business Magazine: September 2022 issue “It’s Always Different: 5 Child Care Providers Share Their Challenges and Joys” by Noelle Jujii-Oride

Read about how 5 Childcare providers take care of their many children on a daily basis, their struggles, and what keeps them going.