City of Chattanooga Partners with Hamilton County Schools to Launch New Initiative for Students Wanting to Pursue Early Childhood Education

The City of Chattanooga and Hamilton County Schools (HCS) have partnered together to launch the One Chattanooga Institute of Early Care and Learning which will provide high school students wanting to pursue early childhood education after graduation a direct path to the career.

The program is part of HCS’ Future Ready Institutes, which are “schools within a school that offer programs of study in a variety of career clusters.”

Upon graduation, students who participated in the new program will earn their child development associate credential, making them immediately employable by early learning centers in the city.

“The program comes at a time when The COVID-19 pandemic led to an acute shortage of early learning professionals in cities across the country, including Chattanooga, a shortage that has prevented parents – and new mothers in particular – from returning to work,” HCS wrote in a press release.

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly added, “As the workers who enable parents to work, early learning professionals are essential to the strength of our economy and to the future success of Chattanooga’s youngest residents. That’s why it’s critical for us to work together to strengthen the early learning workforce, so parents from every neighborhood can go to work knowing their young children are nurtured, cared for, and ready to succeed when they start kindergarten.”

The new learning program will be based out of Tyner Academy and open to all first-year students across the Hamilton County school district beginning this fall. As a result of the launch of the new institute, employers and early learning centers have already agreed to help with job shadowing and post-graduation job placements, HCS noted.

The program is being funded with $1 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds for the next five years, according to the Chattanooga mayor’s office.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Student” by olia danilevich.


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