Big Bend Community College (BBCC) recently received $30,000 in grant funding that will provide scholarships, which are available immediately, for child care workers seeking a degree or certificate in early childhood education.
Scholarships provided by the grant funds will help child care workers with the costs of tuition, books and student support, according to a release from the college. Big Bend’s early childhood education program offers four “stackable” certificates, as well as associate degrees.
Jody Bortz, workforce education instructor at Big Bend, said there is no set number of scholarships that will be awarded with the grant money. She said the college will award “as many as we can,” dependent on applicants’ class loads. For example, scholarships for students who wish to take one class at a time would be smaller, freeing remaining funds for more scholarships, Bortz said.
Bortz said Big Bend applied for the grant funds both because there was a need and because it was a great opportunity to secure more aid for students in the program.
The funding was provided in partnership with the Washington State Department of Early Learning (DEL). Bortz said as part of Early Achievers, Washington’s quality rating and improvement system, child care centers are going to have be staffed with workers who have high school diplomas, GEDs or basic college skills.