The Patrick Administration announced this week that $3.17 million in funding administered by the Department of Early Education and Care has been awarded to the state’s five “Educator and Provider Support” networks.
Each network is regionally based, and involves local partners including colleges and universities, career centers, public schools, and other community based organizations.
EEC Acting Commissioner Tom Weber said that in order to enhance early education and close achievement gaps, in addition to expanding access, strengthening the workforce needs to be a part of the equation.
Weber also said that by strengthening the early childhood workforce, it will also assist early education and care programs obtain accreditation.
Joanne Gravell is the Program coordinater at the Center for Childcare Careers at the Worcester-based Family Services of Central Massachusetts, the program that is overseeing the EPS grant for the central part of the state.
Gravell said that workers in early childhood education and care often don’t hold degrees.
Gravell said that the grants provide the EPS network the ability to subsidize coursework at local colleges for low-income early childhood workers to get them back to school or put them on a path toward a degree.
Gravell said the funding helps with workforce development for programs with low-income and at-risk children, but it’s also often the workers themselves who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The EPS grants in other regions will be overseen by North Shore Community College in Danvers, Child Development and Education, Inc. in Brockton, Action for Boston Community Development, Inc., and the Preschool Enrichment Team in Springfield.
The EPS networks are funded through the fiscal year 2014 state budget.