SEIU 1021

Investing in Early Childhood Educators is Good Practice – and Good Policy


For Head Start substitute teacher, Claudia Campbell, going back to school to get her degree seemed impossible:

“I’ve had my own children, and have taken care of others, but I’ve never had the education behind it,” Campbell said.

That is until the SEIU Early Educator Training Center, SEIU Local 1021, and the YMCA of the East Bay joined together to create an apprenticeship program that supports and uplifts Early Childhood Educators.

The Early Educator Apprenticeship pilot program is an innovative program that offers on-the-job training, mentoring and coaching, and free college classes to parents of Head Start students and Head Start workers. This program is funded by grants from the California Apprenticeship Initiative  and the Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges.

In the last year, the apprenticeship program helped dozens of parents and Head Start workers take the steps to earn a degree and get on-the-job training. It also helps address California’s childcare crisis by expanding its well-qualified and well-trained Early Childhood Educator workforce with well-qualified and well-trained educators.  As noted in a recent study by New America, the apprenticeship is “designed to address the conundrum of requiring more from those who care for young children but offering few options to train them.”

The good news is that the SEIU Early Educator program is a recipient of a $900,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation , ensuring further opportunities for Head Start parents and early childhood educators to achieve their educational and professional development goals.

Pictured: Head Start Apprenticeship members in Berkeley