Press contact: Kyla Kruse
SPRINGFIELD — Lincoln Land Community College has been awarded an Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) grant of nearly $650,000 to help those who work or who have worked in early childhood education or childcare in earning credentials, certificates and degrees. They may also qualify for a scholarship that covers the total cost of attendance if they are pursuing an additional degree or certificate in the field.
“There is a teacher shortage in early childhood education. In addition to playing an important role in the development of children, these professionals help keep our world as we know it going around,” explains Danyle Watkins, LLCC professor of early childhood education. “Imagine a workday without any available daycare. This would have a dramatic impact on the workforce. Many parents would not be able to go to work or provide needed services.”
As part of the grant, LLCC is adding classes and now has an early childhood education advocate, Marlena Constant. She helps future students with applications for the college, scholarships and financial aid. She also provides support and connects students with any needed services.
“I’m a barrier remover. When things like needs for technology, Wi-Fi or gas money are hurdles to your education, we can assist,” says Constant. “We are about cohorts, friendship, collaboration and built-in supports.”
LLCC also plans on implementing prior learning assessments and developing incentives for completion and spaces specifically for early childhood education students to study and get assistance.
ECACE is also collaborating with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to provide the scholarships.
Learn more about LLCC’s early childhood education program.