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Kaine & Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Train Child Care Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine—who serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee—joined Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) in reintroducing the Early Educators Apprenticeship Act, bipartisan legislation to address staffing shortages of child care and early childhood educators by developing, administering, and evaluating early childhood education apprenticeships. These apprenticeships would help students get the training and credentials they need to fill critical child care and early childhood education jobs. The bill would prioritize apprenticeship programs in rural and underserved communities.

“Staffing shortages have made it harder for families to find quality, affordable child care for their kids—especially in rural and underserved areas,” said Kaine. “By training more child care and early childhood educators, this bill would address staffing shortages in the industry and help more families access the care they need.”

Specifically, the Early Educators Apprenticeship Act would direct the Secretary of Labor to award grants to child care apprenticeship programs in order to:

  • Equip apprentices with specialized knowledge and skills required in early childhood education work.
  • Increase the number of apprentices with a recognized credential or degree.
  • Promote recruitment and retention of apprentices.
  • Provide a pathway to career advancement for apprentices.
  • Track individuals who have completed an apprenticeship to determine effective program strategies.
  • Support partnerships with institutions of higher education and businesses to provide transferable credit to apprentices seeking degrees and certifications.
  • Support apprenticeships in underserved or rural communities.

Kaine has long championed efforts to support child care workers and expand access to child care. Last month, Kaine reintroduced the Child Care for Working Families Act with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) to tackle the child care crisis and ensure families across America can find and afford the high-quality child care they need. The legislation would lower child care costs and boost wages for child care workers.

Full text of the bill is available here.