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Proposed revisions to the definitions for the early childhood workforce in the Standard Occupational Classification: White paper commissioned by the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The SOC is used by Federal statistical agencies to classify workers and jobs into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, analyzing, or disseminating data. This white paper proposes changes to the titles, definitions, and placement of the detailed occupations involving the early childhood care and education (ECCE) workforce in the SOC. At present, a series of problems exists with the categorization and definitions used in the federal occupational data system for the ECCE workforce. These problems make it difficult to know the size of this workforce and its characteristics, such as level of education and training. To get a comprehensive picture of the ECCE workforce and its characteristics requires (1) specifying the age range of children cared for by those in ECCE occupations (something that current definitions do not consistently do); (2) providing definitions focusing on the work performed and that make clear the full range of settings in which this work occurs (current definitions focus on the provision of physical care in some types of settings and on the provision of educational activities in others); and differentiating level of responsibility (for example, going beyond the current definitions by distinguishing between lead or full teacher and assistant or aide). (author abstract)
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