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House and Senate Introduce Bipartisan Bills to Expand Early Educator Apprenticeships

News May 4, 2023

In an effort to address our nation’s workforce challenges, including in early learning and care programs, the bipartisan Early Educators Apprenticeship Act was introduced in the Senate by Senator Todd Young (R-IN), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and in the House by Congressman Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Congresswoman Susan Wild (D-PA). This bill would support and expand states’ efforts to establish ECE apprenticeships programs to address the growing need for qualified early educators.

An essential part of the early childhood education system in America, apprenticeships provide current and future educators with the opportunity to acquire the skills and training they need to improve the care and education of our youngest learners. In order to ensure more children and working families have access to high-quality early education opportunities, we must prioritize programs that give educators pathways for career development and professional advancement to meet the growing demand.

“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 and Reps. Guthrie & Wild for their bipartisan work to expand early education apprenticeship programs, and help grow the supply of child care that working parents so desperately need.” 

In the midst of ongoing early learning workforce shortages, it can be difficult to fill existing vacancies with educators or care providers who have the necessary skills or training. Recognizing the need to invest in the nation’s early learning and care workforce, FFYF looks forward to continuing to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to find innovative solutions that strengthen and improve America’s child care system.

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