UMD Center Establishes Maryland's First Early Childhood Educator Registered Apprenticeship


The University of Maryland College of Education’s Center for Early Childhood Education and Intervention (CECEI) has successfully established the state of Maryland’s first registered apprenticeship program in the category of Early Childhood Educator. 

The Maryland Early EdCorp Registered Apprentice Program offers apprentices paid on-the-job training within child care centers dedicated to serving children and families with complex needs. “The goal of the program is to rebuild the child care workforce with high-quality early childhood educators prepared to support all children and families, particularly those with difficulties accessing services arising from disability, language barriers, poverty and other complex needs,” said Christy Tirrell-Corbin, executive director of CECEI and clinical professor of human development. Apprentices engage in hands-on training and complete coursework in early childhood education. They receive mentorship from experienced early childhood education professionals, along with access to career coaching and support services. In collaboration with the Council for Professional Recognition, Maryland Early EdCorp ensures that participants attain their Child Development Associate certification.

Registered apprenticeship programs are an important investment in the early childhood workforce, providing high-quality professional learning and equitable compensation. In April 2023, CECEI established the apprenticeship program with a $2.9 million grant it received from the state Department of Education to address the shortage of diverse early childhood educators in high-need communities. Maryland Early EdCorp, which supports Pillar 1 of the Blueprint for Maryland's Future by advancing "equitable early education opportunities that prepare all children for school and for success," completed the registration of the first standards of apprenticeship in March, in collaboration with and support from the Early Childhood Workforce Connector (ECWC), a U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Industry Intermediary for Early Childhood Education.

The ECWC serves as a no-cost resource for organizations, such as early childhood program employers and higher education institutions, seeking guidance in developing or expanding a registered apprenticeship program. This can include support around  navigating the application process and apprentice recruitment.

“With more than 15 years of supporting early childhood and local workforce development, we are enthusiastic supporters of the continued expansion of Registered Apprenticeship in early childhood education as an opportunity to grow and develop the early childhood education workforce,” said Jim Bates, chief operating officer for WRMA,  an organization that supports health and human service agencies and serves as the ECWC's primary vendor. “We appreciate our partnership with CECEI and celebrate their success.”