Governor Lamont Announces Connecticut’s First Registered Apprenticeship Program To Train Workers for High-Demand, Home-Based Child Care Jobs
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont, Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo, Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) Commissioner Beth Bye, and CSEA SEIU Local 2001 President Travis Woodward today held a news conference in Hartford to announce the formation of a new Registered Apprenticeship Program to encourage jobseekers to enter careers in home-based child care and fill high-demand jobs in this field.
This program – a coordinated partnership between OEC, CTDOL, and SEIU – is the first of its kind in Connecticut. It was created with the goals of partnering with families and communities to create culturally and linguistically appropriate care for their children, improving the quality of early care and education by offering coursework in child development, and valuing the important work that child care providers perform within their communities.
“Our nation is experiencing a child care crisis – one where spots are scarce and costs are increasingly climbing,” Governor Lamont said. “Connecticut is not immune, and that is why we are forming this registered apprenticeship program. Affordable child care shouldn’t be a privilege or a perk. Expanding the workforce in this field means increasing access to child care for all workers and helping parents pursue meaningful and successful employment. This program will ramp up the capacity and quality of home-based child care with a new class of expert instructors, who will get the credentials and incentives to stay committed to this profession for a lifetime.”
Registered apprentices earn while they learn. The program is a federally backed workforce training program that requires a minimum of 2,000 hours working on the job and hundreds of hours of classroom learning. Currently, there are around 6,500 registered apprentices working with 1,700 employers across nearly every sector of Connecticut’s economy. Upon completion of the Family Child Care Registered Apprenticeship Program, family child care providers will have the Child Development Associate and National Association for Family Child Care credentials. These credentials raise the wages for providers, improve future earning power, and lift the quality of the home-based early childhood education programs.
“With thousands of hours of training and education, registered apprenticeships are the gold standard in workforce development and a great fit for child care providers and their staff,” Commissioner Bartolomeo said. “Child care gives parents the ability to participate in the workforce and fills a critical role in the economy. The Connecticut Department of Labor extends a big thank you to our Registered Apprenticeship Program Director Berch, Commissioner Bye and her team, and the SEIU team.”
“American Rescue Plan Act stabilization grants have helped the Office of Early Childhood highlight the important work of home-based, family child care,” Commissioner Bye said. “The Connecticut Department of Labor and SEIU have developed a registered apprenticeship program that is the first of its kind in the state and will help address a significant workforce shortage in the industry. We are thrilled to partner with them to bring educational opportunity and professional association membership to family child care providers.”
SEIU represents 25,000 active and retired public service workers across Connecticut, including about 4,000 Care 4 Kids Providers.
“Connecticut’s already fragile child care infrastructure was destabilized even further during the pandemic, and despite how essential childcare is to our economy, providers and parents are still struggle to find affordable and accessible child care,” Travis Woodward said. “SEIU is on the forefront the fight for better wages, benefits, and professional development tools to address low wages and high healthcare costs and develop a workforce pipeline. This program represents just one piece of the puzzle that Connecticut needs to address the childcare crisis.”
Today’s news conference was held at Green World Family Child Care, an CSEA SEIU Local 2001 Care 4 Kids provider located in Hartford.
“As a child care provider, I see families who are desperate to find a place for their children, but who are turned away because all the spots are full,” Maria Amado, founder of Green World Family Child Care said. “This program builds additional workers and invests in Connecticut’s effort to expand quality child care access. Child care workers are often a marginalized group. These registered apprenticeships will also help us to maintain a diverse workforce and bring opportunities to staff.”
Last month, CTDOL reported that center-based child care payrolls reached employment highs of 15,700 workers employed in the state – higher than pre-pandemic levels. Data from the Office of Early Childhood identifies 1,822 home-based family care centers in Connecticut. There is a high demand for workers in both center-based and home-based childcare facilities.
Due to the success of the registered apprenticeship model, OEC is also piloting workforce approaches that will lead to registered apprenticeships for child care centers.