U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) re-introduced their Early Educators Apprenticeship Act to support apprenticeships in early childhood education.
Apprenticeships are an innovative way to address the challenges of costly expenses and staffing that plague the child care industry due to lack of available educators. Increasing the number of quality child care educators will also help reduce the strains of child care costs and availability for working families.
“Addressing the child care workforce pipeline issue is critical for many Hoosiers, especially those in rural communities where finding affordable child care is particularly challenging,” said Senator Young. “Our bipartisan bill supports the role of apprenticeships by providing career-specific development opportunities, which will ultimately strengthen the child care workforce and improve child care affordability.”
“When we invest in education, we invest in our future. The last few years have highlighted the need to better support our education system: we must address educator shortages and ensure educators have the resources they need to support the social, emotional, and academic growth of our young children,” said Senator Casey. “The Early Educators Apprenticeship Act would strengthen the early childhood workforce by giving more people a pathway to the profession, increasing wages, and equipping child care workers with the resources they need to set our children up for success.”
“Access to quality and affordable child care can be challenging in rural areas like those in West Virginia,” said Senator Capito. “The Early Educators Apprenticeship Act is a common-sense solution that will help bridge that gap by strengthening our early childhood education workforce. Giving our educators a clear pathway to successful careers opens the door to higher quality and better coverage of care, helping both families and childcare workers in West Virginia.”
Specifically, the Early Educators Apprenticeship Act will provide resources to child care apprenticeship programs in order to:
- Equip apprentices with specialized knowledge and skills required in early childhood education work.
- Increase the number of apprentices with a recognized credential or degree.
- Promote recruitment and retention of apprentices.
- Provide a pathway to career advancement for apprentices.
- Track individuals who have completed an apprenticeship to determine effective program strategies.
- Support partnerships with institutions of higher education and businesses to provide transferable credit to apprentices.
- Support apprenticeships in underserved or rural communities.
The Early Educators Apprenticeship Act also removes regulatory burdens restricting the presence of home-based child care providers in rural areas.
Supporters of this legislation include Bank Street College of Education, Bipartisan Policy Center, Child Care Aware of America, Council for Professional Recognition, Early Care and Education Consortium, Educare Learning Network, First Five Years Fund, KinderCare Education, National Head Start Association, National Association for the Education of Young Children, New America, Save the Children Action Network, and Start Early.
“Child care is in short supply across the country, and early learning and care programs are in desperate need of trained and highly qualified educators to provide children with the quality care they deserve,” said First Five Years Fund Executive Director Sarah Rittling. “Early learning apprenticeship programs are a tried and true way to address the critical shortage of qualified early educators, while providing a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment for young children in need of care. We are so grateful to Senators Young, Casey, and Capito for their bipartisan work to expand early education apprenticeship programs, and help grow the supply of child care that working parents so desperately need.”
For the full bill text, click here.