It has been almost 2 years since the groundbreaking SEIU Early Educator Training Center (SETC) Apprenticeship Program for early educators launched in partnership with L.A. Trade Tech, the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF) and the Child Care Resource Center (CCRC).
Over the past few years, professional development requirements for early educators have been rising significantly, and the apprenticeship model provides early educators with a way to meet this pressing challenge.
The content and structure of the apprenticeships are aligned with existing systems of professional development and represent a unique blending of academic opportunities using the well-established apprenticeship model.
This past summer, celebrations were held in Antelope Valley, San Fernando and Commerce to honor the apprentices completing the next level of their education and careers. At the celebrations, the women shared how the apprenticeship program gave them the opportunity to combat low wages as well as satisfy the high academic requirements of the field.
“I’m grateful from the bottom of my heart for this program. I’ve worked at MAOF for 26 years, and finally I’ve applied for my Associate Teacher permit. I’m just one class away from my Teacher permit. In the past, I was able to study for a while, but it was just too much. I had to work two jobs to afford school. And I had my youngest at home. This program—and the encouraging push from my union—made this possible,” said Leticia Zuniga, Assistant Teacher and Local 99 member.
At the celebrations, one thing was clear: the tight bond and connection these women have with each other. At each event, they celebrated one another and embraced each others’ accomplishments, reminding each other that the only way they would be successful is if they continue grow together and support one another.
Rochelle Crawford-Logan, the Professional Development Resource & Referral Manager with CCRC explains, “many family child care providers work in isolation. [Through the apprenticeship] they get to network and collaborate, while at the same time they are achieving their permits and degree requirements. Anytime we can bring [these women together], the connections and networking opportunities are profound.”
So far, 37 MAOF early educators have participated, with 15 graduates and 22 continuing their apprenticeships. In the CCRC Family Child Care program, there are 27 apprentices in the San Fernando Valley and another 27 in Antelope Valley. We are also proud to announce that new courses begin this summer for both MAOF employees and providers working with CCRC. Our goal is to expand this pilot program to all early educators and bring more highly trained early educators into the industry, raising quality without placing an additional financial burden on parents or early educators.
SEIU is committed to supporting and empowering the early care and education (ECE) workforce.
Specifically, our goals are to:
- Provide opportunities for ECE workers to meet the training requirements of their current jobs and qualify for positions of greater responsibility and better compensation.
- Create a way for ECE workers to build community, support each other as professionals, and
- work toward increasing wages, improving working conditions, and earning greater recognition for the field.
SEIU Apprenticeships Background:
The SEIU apprenticeships are fully registered and include paid on-the- job training, mentoring and coaching, no cost college classes and academic advising, small-group learning communities and wage increases as targets are reached over the course of the apprenticeship.
Apprentices are also able to earn CA Child Development Associate Teacher Permits and Teacher Permits, Associate Degrees in Child Development, and Bachelor’s Degrees in Early Childhood Studies. To date, the SEIU apprenticeships have engaged more than 170 workers.