Chicago, IL - We are thrilled with the passage of House Bill 2878 (the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity—Upskilling Incumbent Early Childhood Educators & Building a Robust Workforce bill). HB 2878 makes it easier for educators to access courses in the ways they need. It also ensures that students seeking Early Childhood degrees can transfer into four-year universities without losing any credits or having to re-take courses.
The existing early childhood workforce crisis has only been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Too few current and aspiring early childhood educators can work, care for their families, and further their higher education/training. This bill takes significant steps toward bringing both ends of the education spectrum—early childhood and higher education—into closer alignment in service of a workforce that is majority female and women of color, specifically.
There are too few ECE baccalaureate programs in Illinois to meet the need for teachers. We are disappointed that the Illinois General Assembly did not pass a bill to support community colleges offering applied baccalaureate programs, which are the more affordable and tested option for students. More than 20 states successfully offer community colleges baccalaureate programs, and we hope Illinois will do so soon. The community college baccalaureate is a necessary pathway for early childhood educators and a strong compliment to this new consortium.
In establishing this consortium, HB 2878 sets goals for higher education to serve the incumbent workforce—we believe those goals are essential for accountability and are thrilled by their inclusion here. The bill also establishes an advisory council for the consortium that brings employers, advocates, and higher education partners together to ensure progress is made in serving the incumbent workforce and ending the teacher shortage in Illinois.
Illinois Action for Children
Illinois Council of Community College Presidents
Black Hawk College
City Colleges of Chicago
Danville Area Community College
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois
Latino Policy Forum
Mission: Readiness Illinois
SAL Family & Community Services