The Institute’s Early Childhood Career Development Center has been awarded a grant from the Heckscher Foundation for Children for an innovative new work readiness program that will prepare participants for jobs in early childhood programs in New York State.

The Career Development Center created the 15-week Early Childhood Work Readiness Program in collaboration with seven early childhood programs who will act as employment partners. The program is designed to prepare participants for a job as a lead teacher or assistant teacher in one of the participating early childhood programs. Participants will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of early childhood education systems and regulations while working toward their assistant teacher or lead teacher certification. Career Development Center advisors will meet with participants one-on-one and in groups to support them with resume writing, career mapping, communication and professional skills and goal-setting. At the conclusion of the semester, participants will interview with the employment partners for job placement. 

The Career Development Center’s employment partners include Academic Explorers on Long Island, the Brooklyn Kindergarten Society, Community Action Organization of Western New York’s Head Start, the Family Enrichment Network of Greater Binghamton, My Place: A Play and Learning Center in Schuyler County, Ripen With Us in Buffalo and Young Minds in Motion on Staten Island.

Young adults (under age 25) will be eligible to participate in one of two cohorts: (1) an assistant teacher cohort for recent high school graduates, or (2) a lead teacher cohort for rising college seniors studying early childhood or recent graduates seeking to earn their assistant teacher or early childhood teaching certification. The program will cover the cost of certification application fees, test preparation, exam fees and required workshop fees for participants.

The Heckscher Foundation Challenge is providing $7.6 million to 20 grantees working with employment partners who have committed to providing a number of full-time jobs to young adults. The program’s goal is to secure full-time employment for 1,100 young adults under age 25.

Read the Heckscher Foundation’s press release.