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YWCA Workforce Development Students Graduate Prepared for New Careers in Early Education

By Stephanie Thomas, YWCA Vice President of Early Childhood Education and Girls and Youth Programs
July 18, 2018
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A few years ago, YWCA Minneapolis took on a new venture within the world of early education: creating a Workforce Development Program. This program trains people to become highly qualified early childhood education teachers, while offering a stipend, professional development and work experience.

Last weekend, the Workforce Development Program held a graduation ceremony for the 41 participants who have worked hard to complete the program. They all graduated with their Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.

The Importance of a Diverse Teacher Workforce

In the education field, we know the importance of having diverse teachers in the classroom. This program makes a difference for the field, helping to train and place highly qualified teachers from diverse backgrounds into the workforce; a workforce that often struggles to attract new employees.

A Challenging, Rewarding Program

Each participant overcame many hurdles to complete this program: getting to class each week, doing the homework, preparing materials and testing (often not in their native language), all while raising families and working other jobs. Participants fulfill 200 hours of professional development workshops and 500 hours of teaching practicum. We are thankful they each took on this challenge and worked their way through. We congratulate them all on their accomplishments.

Below, we share what two graduates have said about the program and the impact it’s had on their lives.

“This Program Was of Great Help”

“This program meant so much to me. I became closer to children and my daughter as well. I learned how to praise children more and to encourage them, because children love to be praised. Now I know which words to use. I lived all my life in Africa taking care of children, working as a nurse after I graduated from nursing school. In Africa, I used to love spending most of my working time in the pediatrician ward. My dream is to own a child care learning center in Africa; this program was of great help to me.”

“I Will Refer Others, Especially Other Women in My Community”

“When I started the CDA program, I was nervous that it would be hard and difficult, but thanks to my husband, YWCA staff and all the people around me, I could stay strong. This program means a lot to me, because I not only spend more time with my kids, but I can also teach them what I have learned, as well as my community and everyone who speaks any of the six languages I speak. After taking this program, I think anyone can do it, and I will refer other people, especially other women from my community.

Learn more about YWCA Early Childhood Teacher Development Program

Apply for the Program