First 5 Alameda County Commission Speaker Series

First 5 launched a speaker series beginning in February 2021 to bring in a variety of
guest speakers to explore and discuss early childhood topics as part of our regular Commission Meetings. Find information for upcoming speakers and materials from past speakers below. For questions, please email Julia Otani.


Previous Presenters


June 24, 2021: Dr. Raj Chetty, Economist and Macarthur Genius Studying Economic Inequality


Improving Equality of Opportunity: New Insights from Big Data 

Children’s chances of earning more than their parents have fallen from 90% to 50% over the past half-century in America. How can we restore the American Dream of upward mobility for our children? In this talk, Dr. Raj Chetty will discuss recent work that he and his colleagues at Opportunity Insights have done to study this question. Among other topics, the presentation will cover ways that children’s life outcomes, including earnings, vary across neighborhoods and the root causes, such as structural racial disparities, that impact intergenerational wealth. 


Presenter Bio

A MacArthur “Genius” and one of the top economists in the world, Dr. Raj Chetty tackles the inequality in American society—including in education, housing, and longevity—through the powerful lens of economics. When COVID-19 hit, Dr. Chetty and his team of Harvard researchers created the first and only real-time economic tracker documenting the pandemic’s lopsided effects on the population. As jobs continue to disappear, education is stalled, and low-income and minority groups disproportionately bear the burden of the virus itself, Chetty’s data-driven insights are essential for our recovery. Read more.


April 22, 2021: Dr. Philip Fisher, Rapid Assessment of Pandemic Impact on Development-Early Childhood (RAPID-EC) at University of Oregon


Bearing Witness: Family Voices That We Can't Ignore

Since early April 2020, RAPID-EC has conducted ongoing national surveys of families with children five years and younger to understand how the pandemic has impacted families’ experiences with financial and material hardship, child care, mental health and well-being, and much more. In this presentation, Dr. Fisher discusses how data can inform meaningful and positive change for young children and families.


Presenter Bio

Dr. Philip Fisher is Philip H. Knight Chair and Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon, where he serves as Founding Director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Center on the Developing Child and a member of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, both based at Harvard University.  His research focuses on developing and evaluating early childhood interventions in communities, and on translating scientific knowledge regarding healthy development under conditions of adversity for use in social policy and programs. He is currently the lead investigator in the ongoing RAPID-EC project, a national survey on the well-being of households with young children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Fisher is the recipient of the 2012 Society for Prevention Research Translational Science Award, and a 2019 Fellow of the American Psychological Society. 


Presentation Materials


February 25, 2021 Speakers


Dr. Lea Austin, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at University of California, Berkeley


Centering the Workforce: A Necessary Approach to Counter Systemic and Racial Inequities in Early Care and Education. 

The work and research of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment is rooted in contributing to early care and education (ECE) systems in ways that explicitly reveal, dissolve, and resolve systemic inequities that cause harm to children, families, and the educators that work with them—especially when they are Black, Indigenous, and people of color. The data and insight presented are indispensable as we consider policy and strategic investment in the ECE workforce now amid COVID-19 and in the future, with potential for Alameda County Measure C: Children’s Health and Child Care Initiative.

Presenter Bio

Dr. Lea Austin is Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at UC Berkeley where she leads the Center's research and policy agenda aimed at improving the status of early educators. She has extensive experience in the areas of workforce development, racial equity, early childhood leadership competencies and curricula, and public policy and administration. Her interest in securing access and opportunities for early educators to leadership and decision-making roles in the field were spurred by her work with Mills College and First 5 Alameda County where she developed leadership programs in higher education and community settings and implemented a professional development initiative focused on attainment of college education. She is a co-author of numerous papers focused on the preparation, working conditions, and compensation of educators, including the Early Childhood Workforce Index, Racial Wage Gaps in Early Education Employment, and California’s ECE Workforce: What We Know Now and the Data Deficit That Remains.

Presentation Materials


Pamm Shaw, YMCA of the East Bay. Presenting with Daryl Bright, Success Manager, and Kiahnka Ennon, Apprentice Teacher, YMCA of the East Bay.


Alameda County Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program Pilot

About the Alameda County Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program Pilot, a partnership between First 5 Alameda County, Alameda County Social Services Agency, and Tipping Point Foundation.


Presenter Bio

Pamm Shaw is the Vice President of Strategic Funding and Partnerships for the YMCA of the East Bay. Formerly the Director of their early childhood programs (Head Start, Early Head Start, and subsidized Child Development). Pamm has extensive experience in successfully implementing programs, professional development and managing multiple funding sources and is known for her innovative and creative programs. Pamm has directed statewide training and technical assistance projects, with a focus on traditionally underserved populations.She has developed and contributed to numerous articles and curricula specifically to improve the skills of early childhood professionals to meet the needs of all children and families. Pamm and her team have created the Head Start Apprenticeship program – training Head Start and child care parents to become early learning professionals. Pamm has worked in early education programs for over 40 years as a teacher, administrator, trainer and director.


Presentation Materials