West Hills Community College District Awarded $500,000 for Child Development Apprenticeships

West Hills Community College District has been awarded a $500,000 California Apprenticeship Initiative Grant, which will go toward creating new Child Development Educator apprenticeship opportunities in rural, Central California communities served by WHCCD.

The grant will fund education and apprenticeship opportunities across the district’s service area.

Through West Hills, local childcare providers have committed to the creation of more than 25 new, sustainable living wage child development jobs in the area, to be supported by funding from the Apprenticeship grant.

“CDE apprenticeship training can expand and enhance important rural area childhood education essential for low-income migrant families and underprivileged children who need early education intervention most,” said Corinna Pereira, WHCCD Workplace Learning Liaison Coordinator. “We’re grateful to our committed industry partners, who believe in this important initiative and are taking steps to ensure there are highly qualified professionals being trained to enter the field.”

The apprenticeship pathway will offer interested jobseekers paid work while they earn their Associate of Arts degree in Child Development through West Hills College.

The program’s intent is to tackle serious labor market demand for child development educators in the San Joaquin Valley’s rural communities, including increasing employment opportunities for marginalized populations.

At the time of grant writing, there were 214 local, vacant preschool teacher and child development educator positions listed locally, accounting for over 1,300 qualified early childhood educator job openings annually in the region.

“CDE apprenticeships are an innovative solution to providing employment, living wages, and career development opportunities for disadvantaged individuals in our service area,” said Pereira, “High quality, accessible and affordable early childhood education programs are essential for our working families and their children. This funding award will help to address the CDE labor deficiency in our region while also delivering a valuable community resource intended to strengthen families and break the cycle of poverty.”

For questions about the apprenticeship program, contact Corinna Pereira at 559-934-2168 or corinnapereira@whccd.edu.