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SEIU Early Care and Education Training Center Boosted by State Award for Innovative Workforce Development Program

The SEIU Early Care and Education Training Center (SETC) announced today that its program to encourage career pathways for early educators received a $285,000 grant from the Workforce Accelerator Fund of the California Workforce Development Board.

The new funding will strengthen the impact and reach of SEIU’s innovative Early Educator Apprenticeship program and SETC training efforts to empower child care workers to improve skills and increase earnings. Currently anchored in Los Angeles by SEIU Local 99, the grant will allow SETC to expand their work to include SEIU Locals 521 and 1021 in the Central Valley and Northern California.

The new funds will be used to conduct regional needs assessments of the training needs of ECE workers, develop a long-term sustainability plan for SEIU’s ongoing ECE training work, and prepare for launching additional apprenticeship cohorts in Northern and Central California.

“This recognition by the California Workforce Development Board is a breakthrough for a workforce comprised primarily of women of color that has traditionally been excluded from these kinds of training and career opportunities,” according to Randi Wolfe, Ph.D., Director of the Early Educator Apprenticeship and the SETC.

SEIU developed the Early Educator Apprenticeship to bolster the child care workforce that is crucial to the state economy, while also addressing the child care crisis that is further crippled by low wages and high turnover as dedicated women providing crucial early care and education struggle under the state’s broken subsidy system.

Today in California, one million young children lack the early learning opportunities needed to overcome the academic achievement gap. Parents in low-wage jobs struggle to find and afford quality child care to lift their families out of poverty. Meanwhile child care providers – often considered contractors rather than employees – are excluded from the state’s historic higher minimum wage legislation.

The award is the third grant received by the SETC over the past year. In 2015, the program received $100,000 from the Workforce Accelerator Fund of the California Workforce Development Board to begin developing the apprenticeship. Earlier this year, the center received a 2-year California Apprenticeship Initiative Innovation Grant of $1 million from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office to expand the Early Educator Apprenticeship in Los Angeles County to engage 150 apprentices, including center-based workers, family child care providers, and kinship care providers.

Participants in the Early Educator Apprenticeship benefit from college coursework and associated support services, on-the- job training and mentoring, and wage increases as targets are reached throughout the apprenticeship. In developing the project, SEIU is currently partnering with the Mexican American Opportunities Foundation (MAOF), the Child Care Resource Center (CCRC), Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC), and the Worker Education and Resource Center (WERC). The project is supported by the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards.

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