Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02), senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee and co-founder of the Congressional Apprenticeship Caucus, along with Rep. Susan Wild (PA-07), today introduced the bipartisan Early Educators Apprenticeship Act.
The Early Educators Apprenticeship Act will increase the number of apprenticeships available for early child educators, particularly in underserved or rural areas that are experiencing teacher shortages.
"At the top of every parent's mind right now is how schools and day care facilities may reopen," said Guthrie. "As we continue to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, it will be especially important to have trained educators to help our kids succeed. Early childhood education is critical for the development of young kids from birth to age five and for their families. Kentucky has a great early childhood educator apprenticeship program in place, and the Early Educators Apprenticeship Act will further help Kentucky continue this work and support other states establish and expand similar programs. I want to thank Rep. Wild for working with me on this bipartisan, commonsense bill."
"We face an impending child care crisis, and if we don't invest in the long-term success of child care and early education -- one of the sectors hit hardest by this pandemic -- our nation will struggle to get folks back to work and rebuild our economy," said Wild. "Strong apprenticeship programs for child care workers encourage future educators to join the field and help equip them with the skills they need to be successful and support the young children they care for. As our nation begins to move toward a period of recovery, this legislation helps empower Americans to return to the workplace and find new career opportunities. I'm thankful to Rep. Guthrie for working with me on this legislation that puts a down payment on our future economy and on the success of our young people."
The Early Educators Apprenticeship Act is supported by a broad coalition of education organizations. Click here for a letter of their support. Senator Todd Young (R-IN) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
The Early Educators Apprenticeship Act would direct the Secretary of Labor to award grants to support and expand states' efforts in developing, administering, and evaluating early childhood education apprenticeships.
Specifically, this legislation would:
· Increase the number of teacher apprentices (including apprentices that are in underserved or rural areas) with a recognized postsecondary credential, a certificate of completion of an apprenticeship, or a degree from an institution of higher education;
· Promote recruitment and retention of apprentices;
· Provide a pathway to career advancement for apprentices;
· Evaluate and collect data with respect to career paths of individuals who have completed an apprenticeship;
· Support partnerships with institutions of higher education in the state, businesses, and other entities (i.e. states and localities, employers, workforce intermediaries such as early childhood agencies and associations, public workforce systems, and community or philanthropic organizations) to provide credit for instruction.
· Develop strategies to hire and retain supervisors to support apprentices.