GCC Increases Access to New Credentials for Early Education Educators

September 19, 2019

Greenfield, Mass. – Greenfield Community College (GCC) has been awarded an Early Childhood Career Pathways Grant by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education (EEC) and Care to increase access to obtaining workforce credentials and degree completion in early education.

GCC will receive $667,000 to help students get on track to a degree in the early childhood education teaching profession. “We are excited to offer classes free of charge to prospective and active educators in the Valley” says GCC’s Career Pathways Coordinator Kim Audette. The ECE Career Pathways will provide support for the integration of a national credential into GCC’s Associate in Science Degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE). The Child Development Associate Plus (CDA) credential is designed to be a first step for educators already in the field to attain initial Massachusetts Teacher Certification. The grant will fully fund tuition, books, on-site tutoring and coaching, and pre-college preparation for educators enrolled in CDA. A combination of courses will be offered in the evening, online, and Saturdays to accommodate educators already in the workforce. The 12-credit CDA pathway will stack into GCC’s Associate in Science degree in Early Childhood Education which meets the Massachusetts Transfer requirements. Students who complete the degree can transfer to a bachelor degree program without losing credits.

According to Dr. Peggy Martalock, ECE Faculty and Program Coordinator, “This grant will help support students and educators build their careers in education. Taking college courses can be intimidating and we are prepared to meet students where ever they are at and work with them every step of the way. I see early care and education as a social justice issue that impacts access and equity across many levels of our community. The GCC Education Department strives to provide pathways to full degree completion for the benefit of our students’ lives as well as for the benefit of our community’s youngest citizens”.

GCC is currently accepting applications for Fall 2020 and the January 2020 Pre-College Program to prepare students who are new to college. All program costs are covered by the grant, and students who graduate will be eligible to earn the CDA Plus credential and will be able to apply all of their credits earned toward an Associate in Science degree in Early Childhood Education.

For additional information, please contact Kim Audette, Career Pathways Coordinator, at 413-775-1270, audettek@gcc.mass.edu.