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Additional nearly $1 million early childhood grant helps train in-demand workforce

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Jul 27, 2022

College of Lake County (CLC) continues to be at the forefront of early childhood education, and the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity grant, worth just under $1 million, will help the college continue to strengthen the workforce.

Diane Schael teaching early childhood education studentsThe grant is funded by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board. It was created to support a recently passed law in Illinois (PA 102-0174).

The purpose of the grant is to serve the needs of the incumbent early childhood education workforce and their employers, to advance racial equity while meeting the needs of employers by streamlining, coordinating, and improving accessibility of degree completion pathways for upskilling and to sustain expansions of educational pipelines at Illinois institutions of higher education.

“We’re focusing on building the early childhood workforce in Illinois,” said Department Chair of Early Childhood Education Dr. Diane Schael. “There’s a significant need nationwide for workers in the field.”

Schael said that the major focus of recruitment efforts will be toward incumbent early childhood workers because Illinois has scholarships that pay up to 100 percent of tuition for those with experience working in early childhood education centers and daycares.

“Any time we work alongside others in the state, it allows us, as early childhood professionals, to get our voice out on issues and topics,” Schael said. “We can learn from our peers and create new opportunities for our students which will, therefore, build stronger communities within our state.”

The Early Childhood Education program has recently received several other grants and donations. The college received $345,500 from the Preschool Development Birth through Five (PDG B-5) grant given by the Illinois Governor's Office of Early Childhood Education earlier this year. The money helped with the implementation of new early childhood learning modules for competency-based education initiatives.

Part of the funding from the governor’s office will go toward teaching the early childhood education level 2 credential in Spanish. CLC also received an $811,000 donation from the Schreiber Foundation to support teaching the complete early childhood education program at CLC entirely in Spanish, at no cost to initial cohorts of students.

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.