Making Early Childhood Education Pathways Accessible to New Americans

By Adam Grinold, Executive Director, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, 76 Cotton Mill Hill | Brattleboro VT 05301

Building Bright Futures has awarded a grant through its Vermont Early Childhood Fund (VECF) to help a coalition of local partners, organized through Childcare Counts, develop a vocational pathway which weaves together English Language Learning (ELL), vocational training and cultural education. VECF supports creative solutions that will improve the well-being of children (prenatal–age 8), families, and the Vermont communities in which they live. The VECF award was made to the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) which is acting as project manager.

To launch the project, BDCC is convening Early Childhood Education experts from Northern Lights and the Windham Regional Career Center alongside partners in ELL and cultural learning, Vermont Adult Learning and SIT / World Learning. BDCC manages a range of workforce programs and partnerships day to day and BDCC has also run projects similar to the BBF initiative, helping to align workforce training participants and providers. In 2018 BDCC helped Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and CCV to establish a Medical Assistant training program that continues to run successfully, creating a new medical career pathway for high schoolers, and has supported customer service, manufacturing, and construction training initiatives throughout the region.

The program will help new Vermonters for whom English is a second language, and who want to enter ECE Careers. It will be implemented in partnership with local immigration support organizations. By spring, the program aims to enroll a cohort of refugees and asylum seekers in a “bootcamp” designed to prepare them for work experience and successful completion of
educational requirements for the field, such as the Fundamentals for Early Childhood Professionals course, or taking credit-bearing ECE classes at the Community College of Vermont.