At St. Petersburg College’s Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, April 21, officials from the college and the City of St. Petersburg announced a new partnership to bolster training for early childcare professionals within designated areas of the city.
Officials with the SPC College of Education and the SPC Foundation worked with the City to develop the partnership, in which the city is contributing $49,200 that will be used to fund tuition scholarships for SPC’s Early Childhood Education program. The aim is to help improve school readiness rates and close achievement gaps by preparing local childcare workers to provide high quality early childhood education.
“With this, we will be able to educate those who are working with our youngest residents to establish a foundation for learning, with the intent that this foundation will carry over to their K-12 experience, improve their readiness and improve their success,” said Frances Neu, Executive Director, SPC Foundation. “This partnership is truly exciting as it has all the components to be a model for leaders in our community to come together to solve a problem that affects us all.”
Scholarships will be available for 30 individuals who are currently working 20 hours per week or more in licensed early childhood care centers (residential or commercial) within the following zip codes: 33701, 33705, 33711 and 33712. The scholarships will fund 12 credit hours to prepare the students toward a certificate in early childcare development, with a specialization in preschool education.
“What’s exciting about this is that it’s not just the 30 students that will learn, it’s the hundreds of students – little, little students – that they will be able to better teach,” said St. Petersburg City Council Member Karl Nurse, who spearheaded the effort for the city. “So as we shift the focus on younger and younger students, it’s exciting to have a college like SPC that is so innovative and understands the powerful impact you can have.”