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Kaine, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Expand Federal Work-Study Program to Include Early Childhood Education Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate, Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in introducing the Head Start for Our Future Act, bipartisan legislation that would allow college students who are eligible for the federal work-study program to work for Head Start, Early Head Start, or other early childhood education programs. The bill would help alleviate ongoing staffing shortages in the early childhood education workforce and help create a talent pipeline into the field by providing college students who are interested in early childhood education with paid opportunities to engage in the field.

“Early childhood education programs like Head Start and Early Head Start are critical to providing children in Virginia and across the country with the foundation they need to succeed. However, many of these programs are short staffed, which hurts kids and providers,” said Kaine. “This bipartisan, commonsense bill would help more college students interested in early childhood education get experience and address staffing shortages in the field.”

Head Start and Early Head Start provide comprehensive child development programs and support services for low-income children, including early education, health screenings, social and emotional health services, nutrition services, and services for children with disabilities.

Kaine has championed efforts to expand access to affordable child care, address shortages of early childhood educators, and support child care workers. He cosponsored bipartisan legislation to address shortages of child care and early childhood educators by developing, administering, and evaluating early childhood education apprenticeships. He introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act to help families afford high-quality child care and raise wages for Head Start workers. He recently introduced the Child Care Stabilization Act to extend vital funding for child care to help ensure providers can stay open.

In addition to Kaine, Gillibrand, and Collins, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

The bill is endorsed by the National Head Start Association and the Early Care & Learning Council.

Full text of the bill is available here.