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Hawaiʻi P–20 Partnerships for Education (Hawaiʻi P-20), in partnership with the Executive Office on Early Learning (EOEL), has been awarded a nearly $20 million federal grant to strengthen the early childhood care and education (ECCE) workforce, expand access to early childhood services and create seamless early learning opportunities for children from birth through third grade.

The federal grant is a renewal of the Preschool Development Grant—“Our Keiki, Our ʻOhana, Our Future Project” — originally awarded to the state in 2018. The funding will bring in over $6.6 million a year for three years.

The renewal grant offers Hawaiʻi an opportunity to reassess, re-imagine and restart as Hawaiʻi emerges and recovers from the pandemic. Hawaiʻi envisions a stronger infrastructure for a coordinated effort that addresses equitable access to high-quality programs and services for all children from birth through 5 years old statewide, to support their health, safety and readiness for lifelong learning.

“Supporting our children today helps to ensure a robust future for everyone in Hawaiʻi. We are excited to work with the entire early care and education community to make an impact,” said Stephen Schatz, Executive Director of Hawaiʻi P–20 Partnerships for Education.

Through the PDG B–5 Renewal grant, Hawaiʻi will strive to achieve this vision by:

  • conducting a statewide needs assessment to determine the current landscape and the potential impacts of the pandemic;
  • developing a strategic plan informed by the new and previous needs assessments to improve the utilization, timeliness, efficiency, and effectiveness of services and strengthen governance for our mixed delivery system;
  • connecting families to support and services to meet their needs;
  • building on the recommendations of a 2022 workforce compensation study; and
  • developing a standardized quality improvement model.

“We look forward to working together to build a strong and comprehensive early childhood system through the ‘Our Keiki, Our ʻOhana, Our Future Project.’ Addressing short- and long-term goals through this grant will ensure that all Hawaiʻi keiki have a strong foundation upon which to build their future,” said Yuuko Arikawa-Cross, director of the Executive Office on Early Learning.

Hawaiʻi P–20 and EOEL will work closely with the Early Learning Board (ELB) to ensure successful grant implementation over the three-year period. The ELB includes representation from Hawaiʻi Departments of Health, Education, Human Services, and the University of Hawaiʻi System, as well as non-profit agencies and community partners.

Subgrants will be awarded to public entities to strengthen the early learning system’s infrastructure—including the ECCE workforce — through peer mentoring and apprenticeship programs, and a wage supplement initiative. Subgrants will be also awarded to private entities through a competitive grant process to enhance parent’s knowledge and family engagement; deliver program quality improvement practices (e.g., mental health consultative support services, trauma-informed care workshops, and a shared services model for family childcare home providers); and expand Early Head Start – Family Child Care partnership programs to increase access and availability of infant and toddler care. Requests for Proposals will be solicited during spring 2023.

The federal PDG B–5 program is a competitive grant designed to improve states’ early childhood systems by building upon existing federal, state, and local early care and learning investments. The program was established in 2015 through the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). While funding for these programs is appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), these programs are jointly administered by HHS and the U.S. Department of Education (ED).

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