Early childhood care and education (ECCE) settings offer an opportunity to provide children with a solid beginning in all areas of their development. The quality and efficacy of these settings depend largely on the individuals within the ECCE workforce. Policy makers need a complete picture of ECCE teachers and caregivers in order to tackle the persistent challenges facing this workforce. The IOM and the National Research Council hosted a workshop to describe the ECCE workforce and outline its parameters. Speakers explored issues in defining and describing the workforce, the marketplace of ECCE, the effects of the workforce on children, the contextual factors that shape the workforce, and opportunities for strengthening ECCE as a profession.