Camp Fire First Texas is First in Texas
Camp Fire First Texas has a long history of forward thinking, so it’s no surprise that Camp Fire is leading the way for early education apprenticeships in Texas. There is little known about early education apprenticeships, since apprenticeships generally lean toward “traditional” industries such as manufacturing and construction. However, the U.S. Department of Labor website states, “apprenticeship is also instrumental for training and development in growing industries, such as health care, information technology, transportation and logistics, and energy.”
So why the need for apprenticeship in early education? The Insight Center states, “Over the past decade, an increasing awareness of the long-term benefits of early childhood education has led to growing enrollment in education-based programs.” As a growing industry, there is a demand for high-quality early educators, and with that demand comes the need to formalize the standard by which “high-quality” is determined. Camp Fire has taken the lead in developing this standard in the State of Texas through a Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship. This is not to say that the idea of apprenticeship in Texas is new; the template for the Child Development Specialist Standards of Apprenticeship for Texas was created in 1984, but it is Camp Fire who brought this idea into reality 36 years later.
The Camp Fire Early Education Apprenticeship Program (EEAP) has many benefits, including:
- Stipends for apprentices
- Stipends for site directors
- Wage increases for apprentices
- High-quality professional development
- Opportunities to earn college credit
- On-site mentoring
Although many early educators already participate in any combination of mentoring, professional development and on-the-job learning, it has not -up to this point- produced any tangible recognition of effort. The Camp Fire EEAP changes that by providing an outcome that has value, such as a Department of Labor recognized certificate, wage increases, and clearly defined career pathways that early educators can follow if they choose.
As this program continues to grow, Camp Fire First Texas is proud to be “First in Texas” for early education apprenticeships.