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Fairfield County continues to train more preschool teachers to get parents back to work

Amy McCoy reads a book to preschoolers as they finish their lunch at her Forever Young Daycare facility.
Elaine Thompson
Amy McCoy reads a book to preschoolers as they finish their lunch at her Forever Young Daycare facility.

Alliance For Community Empowerment will begin training new preschool teachers in Fairfield County to rebuild the education workforce that has steadily declined since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bridgeport-based nonprofit has been a longtime supporter of its local community. The Alliance For Community Empowerment aim to end poverty through institutional change and by assisting impoverished people directly so that they can become self-sufficient members of society. The group supports 35,000 people annually through its various services.

Alliance has also provided services to help struggling families and their children, “Our mission is to uplift families,” said Alliance Executive Director Dr. Monette Ferguson. “Uplift people to live their best lives and realize their full potential."

Through their Early Learning program, Alliance has helped educate children across 14 learning sites throughout Fairfield County. At each of these sites, Alliance provides a safe space for parents to send their children to where there is food, educated teachers and access to high quality learning. Children ranging from 6 weeks to 5 years old can attend these learning sites.

Due to these successful services, the state of Connecticut has given Alliance $6 million to begin a new Early Childhood Education program. This new program launce on Monday during a press conference hosted by Ferguson. It aims to train more preschool teachers to support the struggling education workforce which hasn’t fully recovered yet from the pandemic.

This program will not only improve early childhood education for kids, but also provide jobs for parents who haven't returned back to the workforce following the pandemic.

Many people have already been recruited to begin training in the program, “You’re going to be paving the way for the perfect program to create a new workforce that not just touches families, but that educates children,” said Ferguson during the press conference. “And that’s exactly what Alliance has done for 60 years.”

People who are accepted into the program will receive $15 an hour for 12 weeks, with five of those weeks dedicated to training to become an early childhood educator.

Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.