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Grant helps Santa Barbara County Education Office fill demand for qualified childcare & preschool teachers

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July 12, 2022

SANTA BARBARA, CA - The Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO) has been awarded a $500,000 grant to help build the early childhood education workforce. The funds will help individuals who are working - or interested in working - in infant/toddler and preschool sites to complete the coursework they need to advance in their careers in education.

The grant, known as the California Apprenticeship Initiative, will support employees on three levels: childcare assistants in becoming associate teachers; associate teachers in becoming teachers; and teachers in becoming site supervisors. The funds can be used toward tuition, fees, and costs associated with earning additional units - allowing individuals to continue working while they receive the schooling necessary to take the next step in their career.

SBCEO’s Early Care & Education (ECE) program operates 11 preschools and infant/toddler centers for low-income families countywide. The program also connects families to subsidized childcare programs, giving around 2,500 children access to early education. 

Bridget Baublits, Assistant Superintendent of SBCEO’s Educational Services, said the grant helps to address a community-wide need.

“The pandemic has shown the importance of high-quality, accessible childcare for children and families in Santa Barbara County. Due to a shortage of early childhood educators, our community is challenged to build an experienced, stable, and diverse workforce to provide valuable education and care. This grant is all about giving individuals the chance to launch and advance their careers in this critical and rewarding field. We are providing an innovative solution to the ongoing shortage of early education teachers.”

The grant will be administered over a five-year period. The funds were also bolstered by an additional $100,000 from the Santa Barbara Foundation to support this work. A total of 25 apprentices will be recipients over five years. More details and information will be coming in the Fall.