Community Equity Collaborative (CEC) and Upward Scholars launch TeacherUp

by Contributed Content on November 20, 2022

Building on the innovative workforce development pilot launched by Menlo Park-based Community Equity Collaborative (CEC) in 2018 to address the severe shortage of early educator across the Bay Area, Latina-led nonprofit, Upward Scholars is launching an early childhood education (ECE) academic and career support initiative called TeacherUp.

CEC’s  pilot program recruited and assisted community members to enroll in college and provided them with wraparound support, including stipends, employer connections, webinars, and more. This work inspired state legislation and informed local workforce development efforts to build more inclusive and equitable pathways.

Partners included community colleges, local school districts, nonprofits, libraries, boards of supervisors, state legislators, preschools, ECE advocates, and more. Upward Scholars will formally launch TeacherUp in January of 2023, following a transition period to listen to students and community partners.

“Now is the time for meaningful investments in equitable early learning workforce initiatives to address the severe and growing educator shortage,” said Dayna Chung, Executive Director at Community Equity Collaborative. “Early childhood educators are an essential ingredient in the human infrastructure that supports healthy families and strong, local economies. Unfortunately, COVID-19 revealed and exacerbated systemic inequities, including poverty wages that drive the early educator shortage and force roughly one in three parents to take time off or leave their jobs.”

Latina educators represent one of the largest ECE workforce demographics in the Bay Area yet are among the lowest paid. Research by the Center for Child Care Employment at UC Berkeley indicates early educator hourly wages already lag behind liveable wages and TK-6 wages in California. Expanding access for children and equity for educators hinges on holistic support and robust pathways into positions with higher wages.

“With its roots in the Teacher Pipeline Project and its future with our organization, TeacherUp will bring real solutions to early educators who can benefit from our track record of delivering academic and career support for adult immigrants from low-income households,” states Upward Scholars Executive Director Linda Prieto.

Photo courtesy Community Equity Collaborative (c) 2022

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