In an effort to address a statewide shortage of well-qualified early childhood educators, Pennsylvania launched the statewide Registered Early Childhood Education (ECE) Apprenticeship Program in early 2019.
The goals of the program are to:
- Strengthen and build capacity of the ECE career pathway from Career and Technical Education to teaching certification,
- Create a sustainable, standardized workforce model that provides access to articulated educational steps leading to credentials and higher wages,
- Ensure workforce equity and diversity by strengthening the articulation of educational steps with sustainable funding, and
- Achieve economies of scale by building a standardized system statewide.
To participate in the program, child care employers must commit to graduated wage increases for the staff who complete the steps in the program. Employers must also identify on-site coaches for students and support weekly meetings between coaches and apprentices.
Child care staff agree to participate in accelerated coursework, on-the-job learning, and on-site coaching. There is an optional pre-apprenticeship track for students who need remedial assistance to be successful in college classes. The program guides participants through the Child Development Associate, Associates Degree, and the Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education.
The apprenticeship model is currently funded using a combination of Child Care and Development Block Grant funds, state workforce dollars, and private foundation funding.