Illinois Early Childhood Apprenticeship Pilot
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Division of Early Childhood (DEC) is piloting an apprenticeship program to bridge and connect scholarship programs leading to credentials and degrees with on-the-job/real-world training and mentorship tailored to the context of the specific communities where apprentices work. The program will incorporate child care program contracts, specifically to provide funding for participating centers for increased compensation based on staff qualifications. This unique component of DECs Apprenticeship model complements existing efforts underway to upskill staff through the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) and other scholarship programs by materially supporting employers with funding for increasing compensation therefore, incentivizing child care program directors to support their staff in going back to school as well as bringing a new generation of caregivers and teachers into the workforce.
Apprenticeship Pilot Equity Statement:
Our Illinois Early Childhood Apprenticeship Pilot (IECAP) programming as well as our general approach to innovative reforms for early childhood systems build on the equity principles developed for UIC’s Alternative Licensure Program.
- Explicitly stating that our childcare workforce crisis is rooted in historic racism and sexism and, as such, our workforce has had limited access and opportunity to advance their education and as frontline workers have borne the burden of a broken early childhood system;
- Inverting the deficit models of professional development and instead focus on strengths and assets, particularly the community cultural wealth of our incumbent workforce;
- Intensive support at the place of employment. This includes careful consideration of the workplace conditions that support the professional development of the workforce; and
- Inclusion of a developmental and longitudinal evaluation that includes surveys, focus groups and individual interviews to elevate their voices, expertise, and needs.
- Illinois State Board of Education (Equity Standards)
- Illinois Early Learning Council
Committee Members (coming soon)
Committee Meeting Minutes
Committee Meeting Recording
Participating Pilot Programs
- Carole Robertson Center for Learning
- Heartland Community College Child Development Lab
- It Takes A Village Family of Schools
- Skip-A-Long Community Services
Higher Education Partners