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SEIU Early Care and Education Training Center Receives a Grant to Strengthen Head Start Workforce in Alameda

The SEIU Early Educator Training Center (SETC) announced today that, in collaboration with Los Angeles Trade Technical College, SETC received an $825,000 grant to expand their groundbreaking early care and education workforce apprenticeship programs to include Head Start workers represented by SEIU Local 1021. The grant was awarded by the Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges through their California Apprenticeship Initiative (CAI).

The apprenticeship program will help these teachers stay in jobs they love doing,” said Roxanne Sanchez, SEIU Local 1021 President. “It’s hard for working people to keep up with the growing education and training requirements of the industry. Providing career pathways not only helps these workers–most of whom are women–it helps families maintain stable early care and education for small children at a time when California is experiencing a childcare crisis. This funding will help employers in Alameda County recruit and retain a well-qualified, well-trained Head Start workforce.

Through the grant, SETC will partner with the YMCA of Central Bay Area-Early Childhood Services to build upon and expand its Head Start Apprenticeship that specifically addresses the training needs and educational requirements of Head Start teachers in Alameda County, where demand for ECE teachers is particularly strong.

The Alameda County apprenticeship offers participants coursework and support to gain Associate or Bachelor degrees in early education and on-the-job training. Apprentices receive wage increases as they achieve professional development milestones.

Head Start is a federally funded program that serves low-income families by providing preschool education to children ages 3 to 5, along with health and nutrition information and parent involvement services. Early Head Start provides child development and family support services to pregnant women and infants and toddlers. Since the reauthorization of Head Start in 2007, the education and training requirements for the workers who staff Early Head Start and Head Start classrooms have been steadily increasing, including college-level academic work, AA degrees for Assistant Teachers, and BA degrees for Head Teachers.

This grant also gives Head Start parents a pathway to working in the field of early care and education. More than one-fifth of Head Start workers in California were once Head Start parents themselves, and employment in a Head Start program often is the first rung of a ladder out of poverty.

The grant is the fourth major award received by SETC in the past two years. In 2015, SETC received $100,000 from the Workforce Accelerator Fund (WAF) of the California Workforce Development Board to begin developing apprenticeship models for center-based and home-based ECE workers. In 2016, SETC received its first CAI grant of $1 million from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office to expand the Early Educator Apprenticeship and Family Child Care Apprenticeship pilots in Los Angeles County. Last spring, SETC received a second WAF grant of $285,000 to explore developing apprenticeship models in the Central Valley and Northern California.

In developing the apprenticeship models, SEIU has partnered with the Mexican American Opportunities Foundation (MAOF), the Child Care Resource Center (CCRC), Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC). The apprenticeships are supported by the California Department of Education and the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards.

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