Across Colorado and in Grand County, early care and education programs are experiencing a crisis. There are not enough qualified early childhood professionals to meet the growing needs of early education programs. Early care and education is primarily dependent on family tuition to pay teachers. This creates a significant challenge for early care and education programs to keep costs affordable for families while paying qualified professionals a living wage so that they can stay in our community. Grand County early care and education programs have been loud and clear that recruitment and retention of qualified teachers has been one of the biggest challenges in the last few years. But with the help of the Fraser River Valley Lion’s Club and Grand Beginnings individuals either already in the field or high school students looking to get into early childhood education will have a new scholarship opportunity that will help offset the cost of becoming a qualified early childhood professional. Beginning next Spring, two Early Childhood professionals will be chosen to receive funding to support the completion of Early Childhood Education classes at the community college level and will be eligible for retention bonuses at the end of their second and third year working in a licensed early care and education program in Grand County. Each of these two new scholarships will provide up to $7,100 to each winner over a 3-year period. This exciting opportunity is available to high school seniors looking to get into the field as well as professionals already working in the field but wanting to get more education and qualifications. Scholarship applications will be available in early January and can be obtained through either West Grand or Middle Park High School Counseling offices, licensed early care and education programs in Grand County, or Grand Beginnings. Completed applications will be accepted through March 26, 2020.
The members of the Fraser River Valley Lion’s Club have established early childhood care and education as a significant priority for their community support efforts. Bob Boynton, Chair of the Lion’s Club Scholarship Committee said, “Funding these early childhood care and education scholarships is a great addition to our college scholarship program that will award over $20,000 to Middle Park and West Grand High School seniors in 2020 and our vision screening and eye glass assistance programs at local schools.”
Maegan Lokteff, Executive Director of Grand Beginnings added, “Grand County has a critical shortage of qualified professionals for the early childhood workforce. The field has pervasively low wages for a challenging job with a lot of qualifications. These scholarships and the support of the Fraser River Valley Lion’s Club go a long way to recognize the hard working professionals who provide early care and education and support new professionals just entering the field!”
For more information about these Early Childhood Professional Scholarships contact Grand Beginnings at 970-725-3391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.