The Early Childhood Education workforce in Massachusetts is in crisis. The Department of Early Education and Care recently announced that the number of childcare openings in the system has decreased by 6,000. Contributing to the decrease include COVID-19 and low wages. The pandemic has impacted all female-dominant early childhood programs as the resounding effects of the pandemic have driven women out of the workforce and forced the closure of center-based classrooms and family childcare home businesses. The goal is to grow and stabilize the workforce, reopen slots, and make high-quality childcare more accessible for families.
Project Flourish is a cost-effective model that supports and stabilizes the workforce while preserving cultural and linguistic diversity. Graduates receive an EOLWD Apprenticeship Certificate and the national industry Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. They are also eligible for Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care Teacher licensure or can use the professional development hours toward Lead Teacher licensure and earn up to six credits towards a higher education degree at Quinsigamond Community College.
The success of Project Flourish was the catalyst for CCC to apply to United Way of Central Massachusetts’ Community Challenge to replicate the model for Family Childcare Providers. This apprenticeship model was selected for funding in a competitive live proposal event held at the JMAC Worcester BrickBox Theater. Presenters Leslie Baker and Family Childcare Provider Llanet Montoya made the award-winning case for support. This newly funded model will allow CCC to: build child development knowledge and competency in unskilled, entry-level minority and immigrant workers, provide a career pathway with a range of options, provide a network of support and access to highly- qualified educators in a field that will benefit from retention and quality of care.