House Speaker Robert DeLeo stopped by the Social Centers to check out a new pilot program that is a collaboration between the Social Centers, Neighborhood Villages, Bunker Hill Community College and Urban College.
Speaker DeLeo visited a classroom at the Social Center on a recent Saturday to observe the pilot program that helps to train early education and care (EEC) teachers.
“Thanks to the partnership between Neighborhood Villages, the East Boston Social Centers, and our community colleges, early educators will get the training and support they need to succeed and our early education and care programs will benefit from staff who can provide them with a high-quality early learning experience,” said DeLeo. “One of the House’s top priorities has been supporting children’s wellness, and this program showcases the seamless integration of workforce training that impacts outcomes across health and early learning.”
Social Centers Executive Director Justin Pasquariello said the innovative partnership was needed to improve the workforce skills of those that have or want early education jobs.
“The East Boston Social Centers is honored to partner with Neighborhood Villages, Urban College, and Bunker Hill Community College on this innovative and critically needed partnership to develop the workforce pipeline for early education and care,” said Pasquariello. “By providing lessons in Spanish in East Boston at no cost to participants, and providing food and child care for participants, these collaborators have dismantled barriers to educational attainment in a time with a desperate need to recruit more people into this field.”
Pasquariello added that the pilot program will benefit the East Boston Social Centers and other partner agencies across this community—and develop a model that could be replicated across the commonwealth.
Co-founder of Neighborhood Villages, Lauren Kennedy, was on hand at the event and said the pilot program will work to break down education barriers for those looking for a career in early education.
“Neighborhood Villages is proud to be partnering with the East Boston Social Centers, Bunker Hill Community College, and Urban College to break down barriers to starting a career in early education and care,” said Kennedy. “Bringing more, highly-trained talent into classrooms in East Boston will result in more children having the opportunity to participate in quality early learning programs.”
Kennedy added through the leadership of DeLeo and the state’s EEC Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, Massachusetts is making a powerful investment in its early educators – who are some of the most important teachers that children have over the course of their education. “Creating free, community-based pathways into teaching careers is critical to making affordable, high quality early education and care available to families across the Commonwealth,” she said.
This pilot program at the Social Centers is part of DeLeo’s ongoing priority of investing in early education and care and funded the program with $1 million in the fiscal year 2020 budget passed by the legislature in the spring of 2019. Across the Commonwealth early education and care centers seek qualified workers and this program seeks to increase that pipeline by making accreditation classes accessible to teachers needing childcare and other services while they attend classes, which are also taught in Spanish and other languages.