CHATTANOOGA, TN — A group of Chattanooga leaders is encouraging residents to take up the call to join the child care workforce. The Chattanooga 2.0 working group called Early Matters is focused on strengthening the early childhood systems in Hamilton County, TN. One of the strategies is designed to support current child care teachers and recruit new teachers to the profession.
“Almost 70% of the children under age 6 in our county have parents in the workforce, meaning families rely on child care to keep their jobs,” said Jaleesa Brumfield, director of the Office of Early Learning for the City of Chattanooga. “But classrooms can’t open to serve those working families if they don’t have the staff. Even if you’ve never worked in child care before, there are ample training opportunities and we need more people in classrooms with a passion for nurturing children.”
Early Matters leaders are supporting the child care workforce through the Quality Matters Fund. Applications are now open for training opportunities for current and future full and part-time child care teachers living in Hamilton County.
There are three different options for teachers to deepen and improve their teaching practice: a STEAM Fellows cohort with the Creative Discovery Museum; on-the-job training from a from UTC Arts-Based Collaborative and Wolf Trap teaching artist; and tuition assistance for up to two college classes, including the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.
The application window for the training programs has been extended to Wednesday, July 12, and interested teachers are encouraged to apply for this unique skills-building opportunity. Applications for tuition assistance will open in mid-July. Residents not yet working in child care who are interested in part-time positions can email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions and learn about open positions.
STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Ten child care teachers will be accepted into a cohort of monthly training sessions held at Creative Discovery Museum where they will learn how to incorporate new STEAM skills into their child care classrooms. Teachers are paid for their time in training and classroom coverage is provided.
The UTC-Arts Based Collaborative connects child care teachers to a Wolf Trap teaching artist. Teaching artists will train ten teachers in the classroom how to incorporate a performing art, such as the guitar, into their math and language lessons with young children. Teachers will receive CEUs upon completion of either cohort.
Last-dollar tuition assistance will be available for all Hamilton County child care teachers, including the CDA exam fee and TECTA co-pay. Teachers who complete enough higher education may be eligible for the twice-annual WAGE$ pay stipend from the state.
To apply or learn more about the various funding available, visit www.chatt2.org/QMF. Training opportunities will begin in late summer and early fall. Priority for the cohorts is given to teachers working in child care deserts or serving special populations.