“With the latest grant from the TWC, our School of Education is ensuring that our future workforce is provided with the opportunity to learn from highly trained classroom educators right here in Dallas,” said Dallas College Chancellor Justin Lonon.
Media Contact: Cherie Yurco; firstname.lastname@example.org
For immediate release — March 8, 2023
(DALLAS) — The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has awarded $2.7 million to Dallas College School of Education to support its Early Childhood Education Pipeline Pilot Project. The project will provide robust early educator pathways for students pursuing postsecondary credentials, including associate and bachelor’s degrees in child development or early childhood education.
Texas, like most other states, is facing an early childhood education workforce crisis. In Dallas County alone, over 3,000 early childhood educator job vacancies have been posted in the last 12 months. Systemic challenges, including low wages, lack of benefits and supports, and no clear career path, preclude many from entering the profession.
Recognizing the urgent need for expanded quality child care capacity in the region, Dallas College will design and develop an online, competency-based Texas core curriculum geared toward the early childhood workforce. This effort provides multiple on-ramps for students to enter the program and earn stackable credentials while completing a degree. The Dallas College course content funded through the project will be open sourced and accessible to other institutions across Texas.
“With the latest grant from the TWC, our School of Education is ensuring that our future workforce is provided with the opportunity to learn from highly trained classroom educators right here in Dallas,” said Dallas College Chancellor Justin Lonon. “And by helping to design a core curriculum for Texas, this critical workforce pathway will ultimately help solidify the continued growth of our region in a space that can’t be ignored: the future education of our children, who someday may attend Dallas College.”
The immediate goal is to award credentials to 500 early childhood educators employed at Texas Rising Star-rated child care centers by fall 2024. Students will be eligible for support in meeting Texas Success Initiative criteria to gain admission into the bachelor’s degree program and then will receive tuition waivers and scholarships toward successful degree completion.
“This funding is further proof that Dallas College and our new School of Education continue to be recognized across our region and across our state as an anchor institution in the early childhood space,” said Dr. Rob DeHaas, vice provost of the Dallas College School of Education.
Additionally, funding would also support the development of a comprehensive early childhood workforce data system — allowing the North Texas region to stand up and implement the infrastructure and the information required for industry and employer partners to make strategic hiring decisions with new and current employees. This work would be completed in partnership with a third party with extensive experience delivering high-quality online education for students.
“This funding is further proof that Dallas College and our new School of Education continue to be recognized across our region and across our state as an anchor institution in the early childhood space,” said Dr. Rob DeHaas, vice provost of the Dallas College School of Education. “We really view our role in this work as helping the community solve complex problems, and we appreciate TWC continuing to view the need to provide working families with high-quality and accessible child care as a critical workforce issue for our state.”
“Dallas College provided such a thoughtful analysis of identifying the obstacles and potential solutions in early childhood education credentialing,” said Melanie Rubin, director of the North Texas Early Education Alliance, which advocates for strategic investments to increase access to high-quality early learning. “Dallas College’s program for early childhood educators can be scaled to make a difference in the lives of students across the state, in a way that only Dallas College can do. This Early Childhood Education Pipeline Pilot Project made so much sense, and ultimately it was about connecting great ideas with the right sources to further the development of the field.”
The TWC funding comes from a Child Care and Development Block Grant that the TWC received through COVID-19-related federal legislation.
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