Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C) today announced a $250,000 grant from the PNC Foundation that will empower early childhood educators to pursue pathways to higher education, strengthen the quality and sustainable future of our community’s educators and ultimately prepare young children for success in school and life.
Specifically, this grant will help fund the local delivery of innovative programming to help teachers of young children earn the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™, which represents the first step on the pathway to higher education for many early childhood educators and is the minimum requirement for Early Head Start lead teachers and Head Start assistant teachers. 4-C’s unique program framework will support participating teachers throughout their journey – with 120 hours of coursework, portfolio development, classroom observations and CDA test prep – while offering flexibility and allowing them to earn their CDA designation while maintaining employment.
“As we celebrate more than 50 years of serving the community’s child care needs, we are incredibly grateful for the support we receive from the PNC Foundation, which since 2019 has totaled more than $700,000,” said Cori Gadansky, 4-C executive director. “The grant announced today will allow us to offer innovative professional development opportunities, both online and in-person, to help early childhood educators further their education, augment their qualifications and improve their earning potential – ultimately resulting in a more sustainable workforce.”
The $250,000 grant was announced at the site of 4-C’s new office space in Louisville, which will host the in-person delivery of its CDA program, during a celebration event commemorating 4-C’s belated 50th anniversary.
“Through PNC Grow Up Great®, the PNC Foundation is dedicated to serving young children, and this entails empowering and supporting their caregivers and teachers,” said Kristen Byrd, PNC regional president for Louisville. “We share with 4-C a commitment to equip local early childhood education professionals with tools that will help them lead sustainable careers and reach our communities’ youngest learners, and we look forward to hearing about the great things the CDA program participants will no doubt accomplish.”
In recognition of the systemic inequities in early childhood education that impact young children of color, 4-C will intentionally focus on recruiting diverse child care teachers working in under-served communities to participate in its CDA program.
Supporting the professional growth of educators is just one piece of a complicated staffing shortage that persists in early childhood education, and which was compounded by COVID-19. In tandem with advocacy efforts to increase funding and access for early childhood care and education, building a qualified workforce will ultimately equip more children to be prepared for school and life.