CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced a $200 million investment of federal funds on Wednesday in additional training, mentorships and scholarships to pursue advanced credentials for the childcare workforce over the next two years.
The governor also signed HB 2878, which establishes a statewide early childhood consortium to strengthen child care access and direct funding to where it can be most effective.
"We are improving the lives of children across our state by giving them a new level of quality care by upskilling our early childhood workforce," Pritzker said. "We are providing educational opportunity for 5,600 people to earn degrees that will advance their careers."
Roughly $150 million in funding will be directed towards resources for child care workers and nearly $120 million will go towards financial support — including scholarships — to encourage child care workers to pursue advanced credentials.
An additional $30 million will provide coaches, mentors and navigators the tools needed to help child care workers pursue their degrees.
- Grants ‘junior status’ to child care workers who have earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in early childhood education
- Determines how to assign college credit for incumbent child care workers who have a child development associate credential
- Standardizes methods to award credit for prior learning
- Authorizes the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) to create the Consortium to help child care workers earn advanced degrees
The bill also creates a 30-member advisory committee for the consortium to submit a report to the General Assembly and the Governor’s office on an annual basis.