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Dogwood Health Trust Shares Findings From Early Childhood Education Study, Announces Webinar

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Child Care Services Association will present regional findings during Aug. 2 webinar.

Asheville, N.C. – Dogwood Health Trust announced today the availability of a comprehensive Early Childhood Education (ECE) Assessment of Western North Carolina – the first focused exclusively on WNC. The research and analysis, conducted by North Carolina-based child care services leader and advocate, Child Care Services Association focused on both the early childhood education ecosystem, as well as a review of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship program and its impact on the ECE workforce. Dogwood has invited Marsha Basloe, president of CCSA, and members of the research team, to present the findings to the region in a webinar on Aug. 2 beginning at 12 p.m. Both reports and an executive summary are available for free download on Dogwood’s website.

Dogwood envisions a region where all children in WNC enter kindergarten ready to learn. Part of the plan to achieve that goal is by targeting resources to provide equitable, developmentally appropriate, affordable and accessible education and care to support ages birth to five. To help guide investments in the region that will create an improved early childhood education (ECE) ecosystem, Dogwood commissioned Child Care Services Association to conduct a comprehensive study of the regional ECE landscape. The ECE ecosystem study, entitled Early Care & Education in WNC: An Overview to Better Serve Young Children, Families and Programs, utilized data from February 2019 to February 2022 and includes a collection of primary data, analysis of secondary data, and on-site market research.

“If we want to help students succeed throughout school and life, one of our wisest investments is in the first five years of education,” said Dr. Ereka Williams, Vice President – Education at Dogwood Health Trust. “This study gives us data specific to Western North Carolina. That provides a solid baseline of assets and challenges for families of young children and the ECE providers who support children’s learning and development, and shows many opportunities for communities to make strategic, equitable investments in our region’s youngest learners.

“Dogwood is intentionally focused on gathering key data and resourcing studies that fuel and support our strategic priorities and the work of partners in the region,” said Dr. Susan Mims, CEO for Dogwood Health Trust. “By funding reliable studies, research and initiatives that focus uniquely on our region, Dogwood can help provide data for informed decision making. We hope that our partners and others in the ECE ecosystem find this comprehensive study to be a valuable resource.”

T.E.A.C.H. provides educational scholarships to early care professionals and those who perform specialized functions in the early care system. It was designed to address the interconnected issues of low education, low pay and high turnover in the ECE workforce and to build the early childhood system. The T.E.A.C.H. study drew upon data for recipients living and/or working in Dogwood’s service region from July 2020 to January 2022.

The findings from the ECE study will be presented in the Aug. 2 webinar, as well as insight into how this data can be used to advance local and regional goals. Anyone interested in supporting the vision of a stronger early childhood ecosystem is invited to attend and may register here.

About Dogwood Health Trust

Dogwood Health Trust is a private foundation based in Asheville, North Carolina with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and wellbeing of all people and communities of 18 counties and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust focuses on innovative and equitable ways to address the many factors that contribute to overall health and wellbeing, with a focus on housing, education, economic opportunity, and health and wellness. Dogwood Health Trust works to create a Western North Carolina where every generation can live, learn, earn and thrive, with dignity and opportunity for all, no exceptions. To learn more, please visit www.dht.org.

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