TEAM KZOOCONNECT – 03.25.2021
Something exciting is happening in Kalamazoo’s Edison neighborhood. The Kalamazoo Literacy Council (KLC), YWCA Kalamazoo (YWCA), Youth Opportunities Unlimited – KRESA, and Southwest Child Care Resources have joined forces to create a career program that trains Early Learning Professionals (ELPs) and provides 24-hour childcare to residents.
The Edison Early Childhood Education Career Pathway (ECE) addresses childcare and employment needs within the community through career pathway and program development, participant success, and neighborhood capacity.
Following these pillars, ECE will align workforce development with jobseekers, provide participants with paid training and gainful employment, and spark economic growth within the Edison neighborhood.
“There is a demand for more childcare providers in Kalamazoo County and in the city of Kalamazoo,” said Rose Fetzer, KLC’s Adult Learning Services Navigator, “The program also provides learning opportunities. In the Edison neighborhood, we saw individuals who wanted to move into the ELP career path.”
This path will begin with a 15-person cohort hired to work at the YWCA Edison Children’s Center located on the first floor of The Creamery. This apprenticeship will last roughly eight months and culminates in testing and Child Development Associate certification.
“It is an opportunity to have people in the community serve other people in the community,” Fetzer explained. “Childcare is an essential resource for families and it’s important that we are hiring and equipping people with this training.”
The YWCA will offer ECE participants an hourly wage of $13 with the opportunity for wage increases upon completion of the program. Additional hires will be made in the future as needs arise.
“Our short-term goal is to finish out this cohort and conclude the hiring process by early April,” Fetzer shared. “The long-term goal will ensure that there is a pathway now and in the future for people to find employment and childcare in the Edison neighborhood.”
With plans to continue in the future, the ECE will surely be a positive impact on the community for years to come. For information about childcare offerings at the Edison Children’s Center, visit the YWCA’s website.