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Central Oregon college program aims to increase child-care workforce with free tuition

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Oregon State University-Cascades
Children happily at work, learning through play. “Early childhood teachers are gardeners of children’s resilience and learning,” says OSU-Cascades Associate Professor Shannon Lipscomb.

A 2019 report from Oregon State University identified Central Oregon as a “child-care desert” for the lack of available care for children under five. Now, a new career development program looks to change that, with financial incentives for students in the field of early childhood education.

The Early Learning Career Development Program provides up to $12,000 in tuition for students at OSU-Cascades and Central Oregon Community College. It also offers paid work experience in the child-care field.

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Joe Klein
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Oregon State University-Cascades
Students listen and learn from Professor Shannon Lipscomb about early childhood education and skills for developmentally appropriate, trauma informed, and culturally responsive teaching.

In Bend, Shannon Lipscomb teaches and coordinates OSU-Cascades’ human development and family sciences program. She said this opportunity has big pay offs.
“We’re investing in the education and the financial success of early educators and we’re supporting parent employment. We know that childcare is critically important for families to work and to maintain work and to do that in a stable way,” she said.

Part of Lipscomb’s work at OSU-Cascades includes studying resilience and school-readiness of pre-school children and the adults who nurture their development. She’s excited to welcome participants into the program.

“Early childhood teachers are gardeners of children’s resilience and learning,” Lipscomb said. “This new career development program is exciting because it opens doors for teachers to invest in their own development while also strengthening skills for developmentally appropriate, trauma informed, and culturally responsive teaching.”

The program pays full-time tuition for one year for students interested in working in the child-care field, provides part-time work in child-care for student participants, and provides mentoring and career advising. It is open to students at OSU-Cascades and Central Oregon Community College and child-care workers in the region looking for additional education to advance their careers.

The program is supported by American Rescue Plan Act funding provided by Deschutes County. To learn more about the program visit osucascades.edu/early-childhood or contact info@osucascades.edu.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.