Council Letter

July 27, 2022

Professional Development is Key to ECE Career Success

Dear Colleagues,

What if we hired people for skills, not the degrees they hold? More employers have posed the question in recent years as they look to fill positions. There’s been a drop in the number of folks enrolling in two- and four-year college degrees as young workers raise their brows at the time and cost involved. This ongoing trend spiked during COVID, and now the tight labor market has opened more doors to those without degrees. Still, their success on the job depends on finding cost-effective pathways to get the competence they need. And it’s crucial for early care and education, an in-demand field that makes an important impact on children and families.

Parents can’t work without child care, so there’s a growing push to expand access to the CDA®, an efficient way for rising teachers to get the professional development they need. It’s part of a broader effort to ease the child care shortage without putting the costly burden of college degrees on budding teachers. For instance, Ramsey County, Minnesota, is providing scholarships for residents to earn a CDA. In Wisconsin, a partnership between schools, the state department of workforce development and Next Door, a Milwaukee provider, is funding CDA training. The Maryland State Department of Education has partnered with the Council to give the state’s teachers financial aid for credentialing and books.

And Washington, DC, knows that quality child care is essential to economic growth, so it allows all District residents to earn the CDA free of charge, as we discuss this month. You’ll hear from leaders of the Division of Workforce Development & Lifelong Learning (WDLL) at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), where they empower the underemployed or unemployed. Many of the students UDC serves are adults with children and they’re going to school while holding a job. They face challenges like finding affordable housing and putting food on the table each day. So WDLL takes every possible step to help them overcome stumbling blocks that stop them from earning their CDA.

And talk about stumbling blocks—Ismeta Omerovic has faced more than her fair share as a survivor of the Bosnian Civil War, who taught traumatized refugee children in a basement. The ordeals she went through, as you’ll see, have made her feel for the struggling families she serves now as program director at Flance Early Learning Center in St. Louis. Her personal trials have also fueled her passion to make sure that children receive quality care. So, she urges Flance teachers to earn a CDA. “We pay for their classes and books,” she says, “because we figure it’s the best way for them to get the training they need. Not only do they do coursework, but they also dig deep inside themselves when putting together the portfolio for the credential.”

And if you’re an educator who wants to dig deep into how to build your professional skills, join the Council for ECE Practitioner Day on October 8th in Orlando. Our new event will feature sessions on how to support the whole child and embed equity in your program operations. You’ll also learn ways to reflect on your work, practice self-care and gain recognition for your contributions to our profession.

No one knows better what heroes you are than Dr. Calvin Moore, a CDA holder who’s reached the heights of our profession. In the course of his career, he’s gone from the preschool classroom to earn a Ph.D. and become Council CEO, you’ll see this month in his blog. Earning a CDA opens opportunities now and in the future, as Dr. Moore knows. So does Molly Scharninghausen, a young woman who’s earning her CDA through Next Door in Milwaukee. While studying for her credential, she’s able to work as a teacher’s aide at one of Next Door’s two child care centers. And after earning her CDA, she’ll have priority for associate teacher positions at those centers, she says looking eagerly ahead. “This definitely has opened so many doors.”

With open doors and hearts for you,
The Council for Professional Recognition

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