New AmeriCorps Program to Benefit Early Education in Milwaukee Area

Through AmeriCorps, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) was awarded $260,000 to develop a program that supports existing child care providers as they earn college credits while AmeriCorps members become knowledgeable and skilled in the early education field through direct experience, training, and credit-based opportunities.

The WECA AmeriCorps program addresses three community needs: supporting the current child care workforce, building a new and qualified future child care workforce, and improving literacy and other quality measures within Greater Milwaukee child care centers. The Celebrate Children Foundation and The Greater Milwaukee Foundation each contributed $25,000 to the project as well.

In keeping with the AmeriCorps mission of promoting service and volunteerism that enriches lives and communities, each AmeriCorps member will be required to recruit a total of four volunteers from the community. Together, the AmeriCorps members and the community volunteers will partake in a variety of community service projects that encourage parent participation within child care facilities and draw the attention of the larger community to the needs of early childhood centers, professionals and the families they serve.

“Studies continue to draw a direct connection between the quality of care that children receive and the education and skill level of the adults providing care,” says Ruth Schmidt, Executive Director of WECA. “The AmeriCorps project creates the ‘time away’ providers need to advance their education while teaching a new generation about the rewards of working with very young children.”

WECA was one of several applicants funded through “Serve Wisconsin” – a 22-member citizen body appointed by the Governor who award AmeriCorps funds through the Corporation for National and Community Service.

For more information, please contact Autumn Gehri, WECA AmeriCorps Project Director at agehri@wisconsinearlychildhood.org or (608) 240-9880 ext. 7229.

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