Patrick & Henry Community College (P&HCC) has been awarded $31,000 from an anonymous donor to support piloting a model for Early Childhood Education apprenticeships with local childcare providers. The grant will supplement employer salaries to reach a $15/hr salary for all apprenticeships. With this generous funding, P&HCC will build a comprehensive career model that benefits students as well as youth, employees, and employers, all while Early Childhood Development students are also earning their associate’s degree.
In the pilot program, 8 students will commit to a 5 month apprenticeship of 340 working hours while also completing their associate’s degree in Early Childhood Development. P&HCC plans to use this model to create a federally registered apprenticeship program for Early Childhood Development students, who would all commit to working 2,000 hours over two years with local childcare providers, coinciding with the length of time needed to complete the Early Childhood Development program.
P&HCC’s long-term vision is that the program will grow in future years to include more cohorts of P&HCC students participating in the apprenticeship model, with the potential to expand to other colleges. If successful, P&HCC’s Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program could be replicated throughout the state to address early childhood center staff shortages. This model will provide a valuable, hands-on learning experience for students while supporting economic development through addressing the childcare needs of regional employers whose employees depend on reliable, quality childcare.
“We believe that opportunities should be available to employees to upskill and earn family-sustaining annual salaries in order to retain and sustain top-tier educational opportunities for the children in our community,” said P&HCC president Dr. Greg Hodges, adding, “We are so grateful to the donors who are supporting our pilot program so that we can work to make this a reality for our region’s childcare facilities.”
Patrick & Henry Community College (P&HCC) offers an Early Childhood Education Certificate and the Early Childhood Development Associate of Applied Science degree. The certificate program is a 31-credit program designed to improve the quality of education provided in early childhood programs. The Early Childhood Development Associate’s Degree program is designed to prepare early childhood professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully manage a classroom and teach students from diverse backgrounds with varied academic and developmental needs. Graduates are prepared to work with students in a variety of educational environments including childcare centers, family day homes, Head Start, and public or private schools.