United Way of the Wabash Valley (UWWV) today announced a new community opportunity issued from their Success By 6 Impact Council. This council focuses on promoting healthy early childhood development to ensure children enter school ready to succeed. This is in support of United Way’s bold goal to move 10,000 families out of financial struggles and into stability.
The Council is working to increase the availability of high-quality childcare to positively impact the measurement of children who are “kindergarten ready” when they arrive at school. Qualified and trained staff are a requirement to be considered a high-quality childcare program, and according to local childcare providers, there is a shortage of individuals with proper credentials to fill the need. Many students working towards attaining their credentials/degree cite cost of their educational studies as a significant barrier. Also, as an early childhood education program, it can be costly to support student employees that are attaining their education.
The Success By 6 Council wants to help fulfill this need for trained early childhood education teachers with the development of their Early Childhood Education Credential Assistance Program (CAP). This program has made $30,000 available as educational fulfillment incentives to those who complete their credential/degree program utilizing the federally funded and Indiana administered Teacher Education and Compensation Helps (T.E.A.C.H) Early Childhood Scholarship Program or Illinois’s Gateways Scholarship Program. These are already funded programs that provide tuition reimbursement to students in the early childhood education field. This United Way gap funding will be available to support individuals as an additional direct monetary incentive to complete their education and also as an incentive payment to assist the individual’s early childhood education program employer as they support their employees to help them attain their educational goals. The incentive funding will range from $500 – $1,500 based on the credential or degree type.
Krissie Pickering, Program Chair for Early Childhood Education at Ivy Tech Community College Terre Haute and Co-Chair of United Way’s Success By 6 Impact Council explained, “We know that there is a need for more trained teachers and staff in our local early childhood education programs. Our hope as a Council is that these mini-grants will be able to entice more students to finish their education. The students that are targeted for this opportunity are already in the field working with children and pulling double duty by attending school themselves. Our investment in these students will help to create a stronger workforce in early childhood education and increase the level of care as we better prepare our young children to enter kindergarten ready to succeed.”
“This program is a rolling open application process that was developed by the Impact Council,” explained Richard Payonk, Executive Director of the United Way of the Wabash Valley. “It is great that they are building upon already established and funded programs, T.E.A.C.H. and Gateways, to support the future of early childhood education in our community. It all starts with the teachers and if we can’t get teachers educated we will be unable to expand high-quality early childhood education in our community.”
Individuals interested in applying for the Early Childhood Education Credential Assistance Program opportunity can find the full details and requirements on the United Way website at uwwv.org/funding. Please direct questions about the program to Mark Johnson at [email protected] or 812-235-6287.