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A chance for Alabama teachers to go to school


There’s a new opportunity for prospective teachers in Alabama. The Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program offers its members the option to work in classrooms while earning a short-term certificate, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. Apprentices will also receive salary increases and work with a mentor. Organizers say they hope the program helps lessen the teacher shortage in the state. Dr. Marcie Robinson is the child development program director at Wallace State Community College. She says the apprenticeship offers experiences for individuals interested in teaching up to the ages of four or five.

“The Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program offers opportunities for interested people who wish to work with young children,” said Robinson. “So, the classrooms currently that the community action partnership of North Alabama manages include early head start, head start, and some pre-k classroom.”

The apprenticeship program expands over 15 counties in Alabama but are in the process of adding employers to have the program all around the state. The new program is a collaborating effort between the Alabama Department of early childhood education, Athens State University, Wallace State Community College and the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama Robinson says some of the benefits of the apprenticeship program.

“Community action partnership brings the applicants who wishes to be apprentices and then when they are hired they become apprentices. And then they work through their levels in the apprenticeship earning credentials such as short term certificate, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree,” said Robinson.

Apprentices do not have to pay to enter or be in the program. They will earn progressive wages and work with mentors.

Valentina Mora is a student intern at the Alabama Public Radio newsroom. She is an international student from Colombia at The University of Alabama. She is majoring in Communicative Disorders and Foreign Languages and Literature. She is part of the Blount Scholars Program and is also pursuing a minor in Music. Although she is not studying to become a journalist, Valentina enjoys reporting, interviewing and writing stories.
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