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Educational Opportunities Grant Program - NWTC
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  Joan Turba, Business Development Manager
  Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, WI



The future of early childhood education in Wisconsin is looking brighter thanks to a recent program facilitated by Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Over 100 individuals in Wisconsin’s childcare workforce collectively earned over 1000 college credits through the NWTC Educational Opportunities Grant. As a result, a total of 53 childcare centers in the state increased the quality of care at their centers, providing hundreds of young children with improved early education and a more promising future.

Through the Educational Opportunities grant program, NWTC delivered credit certificates and credit for prior learning to childcare professionals throughout Wisconsin. The program focused on recruiting and enrolling childcare providers employed at centers that had a two- or three-star rating in the five-star-scale YoungStar childcare rating system.

Participants had their education expense funded 100 percent through the grant. Courses were delivered at night, one time per week, in order to help the students balance their full-time jobs with this education. Students were also given the option of synchronous online course delivery if distance or other factors were an issue.

Earning NWTC credentials and implementing their newly-learned skills at their respective childcare centers enabled program participants to help their employers increase their YoungStar rating – a positive step that indicates a higher quality childcare program.

For many of the early educators who participated in the program, the grant provided their first exposure to college-level courses. Anticipating the participants’ apprehension, NWTC provided a support system for the students that included not only instructors, but coaches and tutors as well.

“I am thankful for this opportunity to improve our center to better serve our early childhood community,” said one program participant, an 11-year assistant center director. “As part of this grant, myself and nine other center employees were able to further our education. Specifically at my center, it was not a factor of wanting the education, it really came down to time and money for most of the employees. This grant gave us the opportunity to approach improving our center in a manner that was both cost efficient and respectful of the fact that many of our employees need to work their forty-hour weeks as scheduled. Our center has really come together as a group to support each other as we try new strategies and bonded as we tackled assignments that challenged us to change and/or improve our tried and true techniques.”

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