Policy Resource

West Virginia Apprenticeship for Child Development Specialist

Feb 9, 2016

The Apprenticeship for Child Development Specialist (ACDS) is a two-year (four-semester) training program developed in West Virginia for staff in child care centers, Head Start, preschool, school-age care programs and public schools.

ACDS promotes highly skilled, confident, early childhood employees; quality early childhood classrooms; and informed, supportive early childhood professionals.

ACDS is based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDL) apprenticeship model and requires a total of 300 hours of coursework and 3,200 to 4,000 hours of on-the-job experience. It also requires the commitment of the apprentice’s employer to provide supervision and support of the apprentice’s laboratory work and an increase in wages upon successful completion of the training. Graduates receive national certification through the USDL.

In West Virginia, the ACDS is a collaborative effort of the State Office of the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, U.S. Department of Labor; the Bureau of Vocational, Technical and Adult Education, West Virginia Department of Education; River Valley Child Development Services; and local vocational schools. This training program can be implemented in any state through the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training and does not need to be in conjunction with the State Department of Education.

There are several options available to assist students and local councils wishing to participate in the ACDS program. These financial support opportunities come from the: Ann Nutt ACDS Scholarship Program; T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® WEST VIRGINIA; and Department of Health and Human Resources and ACDS mini-grants.

Today, the registered West Virginia ACDS is a statewide project and the state’s efforts have received national recognition, with the model quickly expanding nationwide.

Reviewed July 2018.

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