November 11, 2021 Earn an ECE Degree at No or Low Cost Are you looking to earn an early childhood degree or credential at low or no cost? The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Apprenticeship Program can help. Interested applicants should fill out the Apprenticeship Interest Form. What is the ECE Apprenticeship Program? The ECE Apprenticeship Program is a learn-as-you-earn career pathway that helps early learning professionals in Allegheny County earn a CDA Credential or Associate’s Degree while maintaining employment at an early learning program. The program is employer-driven and flexible in meeting Apprentices’ needs. Apprentices choose courses based on what fits in their lives and schedules and are matched with a skilled Coach who offers additional guidance, structure, and support. Join us to advance your career and elevate the important work of early childhood. How is the program structured? The program includes two main elements: completing courses through our partners at Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) and completing on-the-job hours in a child care program with a Coach. Most courses are offered through a synchronous model like Zoom or an asynchronous model like an online class or platform. However, in-person classes will be available in Fall 2021. Apprentices decide which learning format works best for their learning needs and schedules. What does the program hope to achieve? The program offers continuing education opportunities to early childhood educators and encourages a community of learning by building relationships between Apprentices and Coaches. Research shows that having well-educated, well-compensated, and supported early childhood educators: reduces turnover in the field, positively impacts work climates, and creates a diverse, skilled workforce that is able to serve children of a variety of needs and backgrounds and work with families as partners in their child’s early education. To support the healthy development of children and families, Pennsylvania must support the education, retention, and career advancement of professionals in the early childhood field. This program offers a pathway to do that. Who is the ideal candidate? This program is ideal for child care staff in Allegheny County who are looking to continue their education in early childhood or child development at low or no cost. Employers will be responsible for supporting Apprentices and Coaches in their work. Become an Apprentice Interested applicants should fill out the Apprenticeship Interest Form. For more information or to ask a question, contact Lindsey Vicoria at email@example.com and Jasmine Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org. Frequently Asked Questions Is there a cost to participate? The program provides education and materials to professionals at no or low cost. It depends on what funding is available to support the purchase of textbooks, coursework, and other materials. What does a typical week look like? During a typical week, Apprentices continue the important work they do with children and families at their child care center and attend class one day per week (typically at night). Apprentices also meet with a skilled Coach one night per week to talk about the coursework and how the educator will implement what they learned into their classroom. Can I receive credit for courses I completed in the past? Yes! Our friends at CCAC do a great job at pulling any credit hours they can for our Apprentices (even if those credit hours were earned several years ago in a different field of study). This reduces the time Apprentices spend in school to meet their required credit hours. What do Apprentices complete? Apprentices sit through an initial orientation to hear program details, discuss professionalism, and build relationships with program staff and other Apprentices. From there, professionals will register for and complete courses through CCAC and complete on-the-job learning hours in their center. CDA-Level Apprentices complete 2,000 on-the-job learning hours in their center, which is very manageable throughout the course of their coursework. Associate’s-Level Apprentices complete 4,000 on-the-job learning hours in their center. How does this tie into NAEYC’s Professional Standards and Competencies? The program also focuses on helping professionals achieve NAEYC’s Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators. Our Coaches meet with Apprentices to discuss what they are accomplishing in the classroom, set professional goals, and mark when the Apprentice accomplishes a goal/competency. How did this program get started? Sponsored through the 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund, the ECE Apprenticeship Program was designed to streamline a career pathway for educators and reduce barriers to higher education (financial challenges, time responsibilities, etc.). Whether an early learning professional is looking to obtain a CDA Credential or Associate’s Degree, this program was created to help. How is this program unique? The ECE Apprenticeship Program is the only registered apprenticeship opportunity in Southwestern Pennsylvania that provides an Associate’s Degree track in early childhood education. Our program is also early childhood focused, which is still a very new thing in Pennsylvania. What is Trying Together’s role? Who are the partners? Trying Together uses our amazing network of child care providers to complete the early childhood work, provide professional development, and oversee the general operations of the program. We have partners at Partner4Work, which is a workforce development agency in the Pittsburgh area, and Literacy Pittsburgh, which offers resources to our students, including tutoring and additional support. Our partners at CCAC provide all of the coursework. More Information Interested applicants should fill out the Apprenticeship Interest Form. For more information or to ask a question, contact Lindsey Vicoria at email@example.com and Jasmine Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org. To stay up to date on the latest news and opportunities, sign up to receive Trying Together’s newsletter or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.