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Money to help early childhood educators

Early childhood education is important of a child's development but those teaching young kids may not have earned certifications before working in a preschool.

SCRANTON, Pa. — Kids at the Green Ridge Child Care Center in Scranton have several people helping them get a jump on their education. But what if some of those people never had the opportunity to receive the education to boost their careers?

The state's Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has funded a program to get early childhood professionals across the finish line.

"Where it came from was just OCDEL recognizing that we needed to ramp up the education for our child care programs for our employees, and what can we do to help those costs," said Autumn Alleman, with PASSHE Early Childhood Development Organization.

Colleen Sutton has worked at the Green Ridge Child Care Center for nearly a decade. She jumped at the chance to study for an associate degree through this program.

"Life got in the way, and I wasn't able to, so at this point, being able to have the opportunity to go to school was a blessing to have it paid for because I wanted to do so for a really long time," Sutton said.

Those utilizing this program say they're not the only ones benefiting. It's also the kids.

"There were so many things that I learned in the class that I was able to use here that made me understand certain behaviors and certain aspects of our kids that I was like, 'Oh, I didn't think of that before,'" said Shannon Kapmeyer, Green Ridge Child Care Center.

To be eligible for the funding, you must work at least 25 hours per week in a licensed child care center in Pennsylvania.

"I would tell them to look into it; it's worth it. The only thing that I had to pay for was the book. And otherwise, I don't think I would have been able to afford the class. It's definitely something worthwhile, monetary-wise and learning-wise," said Jennifer Simon, Bellevue Child Care Center director.

To find out more about the program, get started here.

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