Fort Worth, Texas (August 17, 2020) – Almost one year ago, Camp Fire First Texas based in Fort Worth, Texas, introduced the first Early Education Apprenticeship Program (EEAP) in the state when it received Department of Labor (DOL) approval. The program has cleared another significant milestone by being approved by the DOL as an Early Childhood Educator I Apprenticeship.

This additional occupation carries significant impact for those who are enrolled in the apprenticeship program. The primary difference between the previous designation and new option is it allows for greater participation allowing for apprentices who are early in their career as well as those who are more seasoned to advance their careers and thrive. Specifically:

Child Care Development Specialist, the original occupation, is a 2-year program that awards the certificate based on completion of hours for “On the Job Learning and Related Instruction” or course work. No prior work experience required (preferred, but not required).

The newest occupation approved, Early Childhood Educator I, is a 1-year program that awards the certificate based on demonstrated competencies and knowledge. It aligns with the Power to the Profession Task Force’s competencies and standards. To be admitted, applicants must come in with 2+ years of experience in the field and a Child Development Associate.

“The addition of the second option makes the apprenticeship even more appetizing for teachers who have years of experience in the field, and already have a CDA. Because of the alignment with national professional titles, the program will be more likely to be recognized as a quality option across the community, state, and country making the skills acquired through Camp Fire EEAP more marketable for early educators,” explained Eboni Kelly, Director of Camp Fire Early Education Apprenticeship Program.

Course work will begin in September for the inaugural class of apprentices. “We are rapidly adjusting our course delivery and evaluating tools to ensure our apprentices are safe during this uncertain time while still receiving ample in-person support, virtually in most instances, that is a cornerstone of the program. The current virtual tools available to us and the ease of access will make sure each apprentice finds the support to start – and eventually complete – the program successfully,” Kelly added.

Camp Fire Early Education Apprenticeship Program is a free program open to child care and early education teachers who work in Tarrant County. Applications are still being accepted. Applications are available at

Camp Fire First Texas Early Education Apprenticeship Program (EEAP) is offered in partnership with Workforce Solutions for Tarrant CountyTarrant County  CollegeTarleton State University and T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Texas. Funding support has been provided by the George and Faye Young Foundation, The Miles Foundation, Rainwater Charitable Foundation, Sid Richardson Foundation, and United Way of Tarrant County.