Pennsylvania recently awarded a total of $1.4 million to three universities to support early childhood educators to pursue higher education.
The competitive grants, funded through the state’s Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant, will be used to strengthen infrastructure, create new credit-bearing early childhood offerings, and build cross-system partnerships to reduce barriers faced by early care and education (ECE) teachers trying to participate in higher education. The goal is to help more currently employed ECE professionals to achieve a Child Development Associate degree, bachelor’s degree, and/or Pennsylvania PreK-4 teacher certification.
Specific grant projects include: establishing an early childhood workforce hub at Carlow University that will provide career guidance, ECE workshops, and resources; replicating an ECE apprenticeship model at Drexel University; and creating a Center for Early Childhood Education at Shippensburg University. This grant builds on other RTT-ELC projects to align higher education courses with revised core knowledge and competencies for early childhood professionals and strengthen the state’s quality rating and improvement system.