Santa Barbara County Office of Education Receives Half-Million Dollar Grant to Respond to Child Care and Preschool Applications

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – The Santa Barbara County Office of Education has received a $500,000 grant to cover costs associated with advancing a career in early childhood education to develop this segment of the workforce in Santa Barbara County.

The funds will go to people who work or want to work at infant/toddler and preschool sites to strengthen Santa Barbara County’s early childhood education workforce, according to spokeswoman Camilla. Barnwell.

“The pandemic has shown the importance of accessible, high-quality child care for children and families in Santa Barbara County. Due to a shortage of early childhood educators, our community is challenged to build an experienced, stable and diverse workforce to provide valuable education and care,” said Bridget Baublits, Assistant Superintendent educational services of the county office of education.

“This grant aims to give individuals the chance to launch and advance their careers in this critical and rewarding field. We offer an innovative solution to the ongoing shortage of early childhood education teachers.”

The grant, also known as the California Apprenticeship Initiative, is available for 25 apprentices and will support employees at three levels: child care assistants becoming associate teachers, associate teachers becoming teachers, and teachers becoming site supervisors.

People who receive part of the grant will be able to use the funds to take courses that will advance their careers in education, Barnwell said. The money can be used for tuition, fees, and costs associated with earning additional units.

The grant money will be spread over a five-year period and is bolstered by an additional $100,000 from the Santa Barbara Foundation to support the work, Barnwell said.

To learn more about the California Apprenticeship Initiative, click here.

Find out more about the County Education Office’s Early Care and Education program here.