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The Learning Lamp Named Early Childhood Education Apprenticeship Regional Coordinator

Posted on January 26, 2021

Johnstown, PA (January 25, 2021) – With the goal of reducing staff turnover and attracting and retaining quality workers, 2021 ushers in a new phase in Pennsylvania’s efforts to advance Early Childhood Education (ECE) statewide, and The Learning Lamp is playing a lead role.

The goal is to provide free educational opportunities for individuals working in child care and early learning that lead to an academic credential while simultaneously improving the quality of care and education in early learning programs. Called Early Childhood Education Apprenticeship, child care workers can attain a Child Development Associate credential, an associate’s degree, or even bachelor’s degree in child development or early childhood at little to no cost. A college degree with ZERO debt—that’s nearly unheard of in this day and age.

In late 2020, the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) selected District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund in Philadelphia to oversee development of Pennsylvania’s ECE Registered Apprenticeship Pathway—a network of ECE regional apprenticeship coordinators and institutions of higher learning tasked with advancing the state’s employer-driven early learning registered apprenticeship model. District 1199C chose The Learning Lamp to serve as the Coordinator for the Southern Alleghenies region of Cambria, Somerset, Bedford, Blair, and Clearfield counties.

“When you look at research related to turnover of staff in the child care industry, it’s something like 50% on an annual basis. I would argue that it is actually higher than that,” explained Dr. Leah Spangler, President and CEO, The Learning Lamp. “Apprenticeship is a fantastic learning model for adults because so much of the work is embedded on the job. People in the early learning field are able to earn college credits at no cost through apprenticeship and at the same time qualify for higher paying jobs while increasing their credentials.”

ECE apprenticeships gives anyone working within the early learning field the opportunity to combine supervised, on-the-job work hours with in-person or online college courses to earn a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, even a PA teaching certification and master’s degree. Coursework is funded through the PASHE Professional Development Organization at Shippensburg University. As a regional coordinator, The Learning Lamp will recruit and assist in coordinating apprenticeships for workers and early learning providers across the region.

“The Pennsylvania ECE Registered Apprenticeship Pathway represents a significant investment and commitment from OCDEL to stabilize the early learning workforce,” added Spangler. “The end result is improved skills and wages for staff who complete apprenticeship programs, reduced turnover for providers, and greater reliability and quality of care for children and families. And that’s a win-win for everyone.”

The Learning Lamp recently completed a first cohort of apprentices enrolled in a pilot program with Shippensburg University. Seven apprentices earned their CDA credentials in December. Eleven apprentices will begin a second cohort in January, four of whom are continuing on to earn an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s ECE Registered Apprenticeship Pathway in our region, contact Regional Coordinator Amanda Manges at: 814-262-0732 x248 or email amanges@thelearninglamp.org. 

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The Learning Lamp is a nonprofit organization with a mission to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. We deliver high quality programs that are affordable and accessible to families of all income levels. In 2019, The Learning Lamp served 31,329 youth/adults from 53 public school districts and 78 other schools and organizations in 19 Pennsylvania counties. 

Our programs include: one-to-one tutoring; before/after school programs; portable classrooms aimed at building math and science skills; alternative education programs for at-risk students; evidence-based prevention programs; online learning and credit recovery; SAT preparation; educationally-focused child care; literacy-based preschool programs; and grant writing and project consulting for schools.

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We strive to do meaningful work that allows us to give back to the community. If you’re looking to embrace the passion of the nonprofit world and collaborate with other individuals who share your passions, consider applying to one of our open positions here. https://bit.ly/3wVzYkZ