According to a new report by the Migration Policy Institute, the immigrants now account for nearly one-fifth of the overall ECEC workforce in the USA, a slightly higher percentage than are represented in the workforce at large 

However, these immigrant workers—and the linguistic and cultural diversity that they bring to the field—are highly over-represented in lower-skilled and lower-paying sectors of the profession such as family-based child-care workers; few hold leadership positions as center directors or work as prekindergarten (pre-K) teachers.

Despite the increasing demand for culturally and linguistically sensitive ECEC services, these competencies are often not recognized as important for ECEC workers; less than one-quarter of the workforce speaks a language other than English, and there is a mismatch between the growing diversity of languages spoken by immigrant children and families and the languages typically spoken by the ECEC workforce.

The primary objective of the report is to gain a better understanding of the unique characteristics of immigrant workers in order to ensure that their needs are reflected in policy efforts that seek to expand and improve ECEC services for young children. The report examines demographic and socioeconomic trends in both the immigrant-origin child population (ages 5 and under) eligible to enroll in ECEC programs as well as the ECEC workforce in the United States, and goes on to discuss policy implications and opportunities to support the advancement of immigrant ECEC workers as part of an overall effort to improve the quality of the early childhood workforce.