President Becky Rowley Ph.D.
SANTA FE — Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) announces the launch of the APRENDE apprenticeship program for early childhood education in the spring 2023 semester.
SFCC will begin accepting applications Oct. 31. The program is funded through the support of the City of Santa Fe, which approved $900,000 in funding at its Sept. 28 Governing Body meeting. The economic support is from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Recovery Funds in support of Early Childcare Job Development Services with the SFCC Early Childhood Education Center of Excellence (ECCOE).
The APRENDE Early Childhood Educator Apprenticeship program, sponsored by the SFCC ECCOE, is an associate degree program designed for students to use their work experience integrated with their college coursework.
“APRENDE is the first registered apprenticeship in early childhood education in the state,” Catron Allred said, director of ECCOE. “I’m thrilled that SFCC can offer such a robust apprenticeship program due to the support of the mayor and the city council.”
Apprentices will take courses at SFCC while employed at a registered or licensed early childhood program, under the guidance of a qualified mentor teacher. Apprentices earn the Child Development Certificate (CDC), the Early Childhood Professional Certificate, and an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education through the APRENDE Program, leading to higher wages and a lead teacher credential. APRENDE will also offer additional opportunities for professional development and wraparound supports.
SFCC president Becky Rowley, Ph.D., said, “We are grateful to the Mayor and City Council of Santa Fe for investing in an innovative workforce development program to build the capacity of early education in Santa Fe. Through APRENDE, we will be building new pipelines into rewarding early childcare and education careers and helping current early childcare workers earn certificates and degrees that lead to higher wages and responsibilities.”
Mayor Alan Webber added, “Santa Fe needs quality, affordable childcare for all our residents. Using some of our ARPA funds to add more qualified childcare providers to our community will support moms and dads, their children, and the businesses here in town that need employees who can come back to work. I’m delighted that the City continues to work with the Community College and other partners to provide this family-friendly service to our community.”
Director Allred added: “We’re also grateful to our APRENDE employers, who are key partners. These employers create positive early childhood workplace cultures where apprentices can learn and grow under the guidance of experienced mentor teachers and administrators.”
Applications open Oct. 31 online.
APRENDE will support prospective apprentices not already employed by a participating early childhood center to find employment.
Apprentices may apply for free tuition, fees, and books through the ECECD scholarship program. During the Spring 2023 semester, apprentices will also be eligible for a special Student Success incentive of up to $2,000 upon completion of classes with a 2.5 or higher GPA.