A Partnership with The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts
During MASSCAP’s annual public policy briefing earlier this week at the State House, READYGO, a new early education and care workforce development initiative made possible through The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts (THFCM), was announced. Dr. Jan Yost, THFCM President & CEO, spoke of the need for early educators to have the tools to address the increasing challenging behaviors of young children and challenging classroom dynamics that they are facing in announcing a $200,000 planning grant for READYGO. As Dr. Yost said, “Everyone knows that quality early childhood education and care is essential for all children and that quality early childhood education and care requires an educated workforce. Yet, we do not have enough early childhood education or Head Start classrooms, and we do not have a sufficient, skilled workforce to meet the needs.” The goal of this initiative is to maximize the early education and care experiences and the number of children receiving services by providing education and training in adverse childhood experiences, creating trauma-informed environments and acquiring behavioral management skills as well as to enhance the workforce career ladder for early educators and foster more equitable educational outcomes.
Assisted by evaluators from the Institute for Community Health, MASSCAP will use a research-based approach, working closely with Mount Wachusett Community College and Quinsigamond Community College to develop courses/curriculum to be included in early educators degree work and certification, as well as with community-based organizations including Making Opportunity Count (MOC) and Worcester Community Action Council (WCAC) Early Education and Care and Head Start Programs. This year is a planning year and MASSCAP will work closely with these partners as well as the foundation. The ultimate goal of the project is to create a scalable solution that can be implemented statewide to give early educators the skills and credentials they need.
“We look forward to developing training and education approaches that over time will enhance the early care and education experience in classrooms across the state,” said Joe Diamond, MASSCAP Executive Director.
MASSCAP is the state association representing the 23 Community Action Agencies operating in Massachusetts. CAAs are one of the largest providers of nonprofit Early Education and Care and Head Start in the state, providing care for the 20,000 children. As a network, a key priority is to strengthen families through affordable and accessible early education and care. MASSCAP outlined their state budget and policy priorities in this area for the upcoming year during the briefing as well. Priorities include increasing early education teacher salaries, designating federal discretionary funding for teacher salary add-ons to address credentialing, increasing resources for Head Start, and increase resource for Child Care Resource Referral Access management.