SPRINGFIELD — This fall, Springfield Technical Community College this fall will launch a new certificate program to help early childhood educators or school paraprofessionals take their careers to the next level.
The Child Development Associate Plus (CDA Plus) certificate of completion is designed for educators who want to get their Child Development Associate credential and earn college credit at the same time.
“STCC’s CDA Plus program puts educators on the fast track to earn an associate degree in Early Childhood Education Transfer,” said Richard Greco, dean of Liberal and Professional Studies at STCC. “We’re thrilled to offer this affordable professional development opportunity.”
An individual with a CDA credential, which is nationally recognized, has demonstrated competency in meeting the needs of children and in working with parents and other adults to nurture children’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth, said STCC’s Early Education and Care Pathways Grant and Activity Director Nancy Ward.
The Career Pathways Grant, funded through the state Department of Early Education and Care, enables STCC to provide a range of support for CDA Plus students which includes but is not limited to the following:
- Assistance with enrollment and financial aid processes;
- Embedded tutoring and coaching within courses;
- Flexible hybrid models with online opportunities that can be completed remotely;
- Training and courses offered at times that are convenient for working students;
- Training on the use of technology and a lending library of technology resources;
- Academic advising, career counseling, and job placement support;
- CDA application and submission support;
- Financial support for child care and transportation;
- Credit for prior learning;
- Membership to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC); and
- Opportunity to be part of a CDA Learning Community.
STCC also has credit-earning opportunities available for educators who have earned their CDA credential or have acquired other skills in the field or from existing certifications. Students with a CDA credential can receive 17 credits toward an associate degree, Greco said.
STCC has named experienced educator Aimee Dalenta as chair of the Early Childhood Education Department. Among her responsibilities she will oversee the new CDA Program.