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Early Educator Career Pathways Programs at Massachusetts Community Colleges

Information about the StrongStart to Early Educator Career Pathways program at each of the 15 publicly funded community colleges in Massachusetts

Table of Contents

Berkshire Community College Career Pathways

At Berkshire Community College students are offered a variety of stackable pathways to achieve their academic and career goals. The Introductory Certificate at Berkshire Community College (BCC) is aligned with both the CDA Credential and The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) Lead Teacher Certification. It also stacks into BCC’s Intermediate Certificate and Associates of Science (AS) degree. The CDA Plus Cohort meets at the same day and time weekly and courses follow BCC’s stackable credentials, which allow students to progress towards and AS Degree. The CDA Plus Cohort begins with a pre-cohort semester in which interested students are enrolled in Child Growth and Development and weekly tutoring addressing the reading, writing and math skills needed to demonstrate college readiness on Accuplacer. The Child Growth and Development course allows students to apply for Teacher status in EEC’s credentialing system. Once accepted into the college students continue into the Early Childhood Education CDA Plus Cohort to earn their certificates (CDA & BCC) and finally an AS degree. BCC also offers a Director’s Cohort during the summer months in which students enroll in two courses to earn their Director I and Director II certification through EEC. BCC supports grant funded students through weekly meetings with our ECE Mentor who helps students with content, assignments, time management and study skills. BCC provides textbooks for all ECE courses including the CDA Bundle of textbooks, materials for CDA portfolio development, a laptop to the new ECE Cohorts, membership to NAEYC, stipends for childcare and transportation and the opportunity to attend the MAAEYC conference.

Learn more about what the Career Pathways Program at Berkshire Community College offers.

Or contact: Alicia Ginsberg, Grant Coordinator; aginsberg@berkshirecc.edu; 413-236-4598

Bristol Community College Career Pathways

At Bristol Community College, several options exist for those currently in the workforce. A CDA Pathway is currently being designed and will be offered as cohorts for students. This allows students to develop and work together through every level, with the outcome of a CDA/EEC Lead Teacher Certification. This pathway is being developed to easily translate onto other options such as an Associates, Bachelors or Master's level. Bristol Community College also offers a variety of professional learning events to support professional learning, to bring awareness to the need for quality Early Childhood Education and Care for all. Supports are provided including, English as a second language, technology, and tutoring assistance.   

Learn more about what the Career Pathways Program at Bristol Community College offers.  

Or contact: Diane Goodwin, Staff Associate; Diane.Goodwin@BristolCC.edu; 774-357-2112

Bunker Hill Community College Career Pathways

Bunker Hill Community College’s (BHCC) Career Pathways program is designed to help the Early Childhood Education (ECE) workforce, and those interested in joining the field, to receive the classes and support needed to attain professional qualifications certification from the Department of Early Education and Care. BHCC offers four ECE courses, all of which can be applied to EEC’s professional qualifications certification or an associate’s degree at the College. With support from BHCC’s partner, Neighborhood Villages, the Career Pathways classes are held at local childcare programs in Boston, and students in the program receive scholarships for tuition and textbooks, as well as a small stipend upon successful completion of the ECE courses. Courses are offered in the evening and students have access to childcare while they are in class. In addition to coursework offered, BHCC is developing more multi-lingual course opportunities for students, providing academic and career advising in multiple languages, and CPR training.

Learn more about what the Career Pathways Program at Bunker Hill Community College offers.

Or contact: Austin Gilliland agillila@bhcc.edu 617-228-2420

Cape Cod Community College Career Pathways

The Career Pathways Grant at Cape Cod Community Colleges offers early educators and those new to the field a host of options, including a CDA Plus program, which leads to a nationally recognized early education credential. The CDA can lead to Teacher certification (Massachusetts EEC); with experience, it can qualify you as a Lead Teacher and is also a steppingstone towards earning your Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. In addition, the grant also pays for courses that students pursue in order to earn a specific EEC credential such as Teacher, Lead Teacher, or Director. Finally, students who are enrolled at CCCC, working on their AS degree or certificate in Early Childhood, also qualify for grant-funded courses. Cape Cod Community College offers a variety of supports to students through the Career Pathways Grant: book vouchers, tutoring, advising, NAEYC memberships, and more.

Learn more about what the Career Pathways Program at Cape Cod Community College offers.

Contact: Mary E. Cronin, Grant Director; mcronin@capecod.edu; 774-330-4417

Greenfield Community College Career Pathways

The Career Pathways Grant at Greenfield Community College (GCC) offers several options for early educators and those new to the field to obtain advanced credentials. These include a "pre-college" cohort offering contextualized English courses complete with wrap-around supports to those not quite ready for college level work or new to the field, as well as all required courses need for educators to earn their EEC Teacher, Lead Teacher and Director Certifications. In fall 2020 we will unveil our new CDA Plus cohort program for experienced educators looking to complete their CDA. The CDA Plus program will also stack into a GCC Early Childhood Education Certificate as well as the ECE A.S. degree. GCC offers students dedicated professional tutoring both embedded as part of specific classes and in individual sessions. In addition, we offer students free tuition and fees, free books delivered to their classes, and funds for childcare, transportation nutrition needs, etc. Courses are flexible, with scheduling of classes in evening/weekend and hybrid/on-line options. In addition, we offer a Supervision training for Supervising Teachers (Super T's) to increase coaching and mentoring skills as well as host an Education Leadership Council to bring our Community Partners and alumni together to further bring together the local early childhood community.  

Learn more about what the Career Pathways Program at Greenfield Community College offers.

Or contact: Kim Audette, Career Pathways Coordinator; audettek@gcc.mass.edu; 413 775-1270

Holyoke Community College Career Pathways

The Holyoke Community College CDA Plus program, funded by the EEC Career Pathways grant provides educators an opportunity to take up to 16 credits in Early Childhood Education. 12 will stack into an Early childhood Certificate or AA degree, the other 4 will stack into the AA as electives. In addition to the courses offered through the CDA Plus program, all participants can borrow textbooks and a Chromebook. They receive all necessary CDA books, materials to create their CDA binder, CDA application fee paid for and support preparing for the exam and the observation visit. A supplemental instructor attends all of the in-person courses and provides support and tutoring to students in need. All students are provided academic advising and career counseling, and a stipend for participation. HCC also supports early childhood educators to further their EEC certification by offering additional grant funded courses that support teacher, lead teacher and director certification.

Learn more about what the Career Pathways program at Holyoke Community College offers.

Or contact: Abby Mahoney, amahoney@hcc.edu; 413-552-2345

Mass Bay Community College Career Pathways

MassBay offers tuition-free courses towards all levels of EEC certification (Teacher, Lead Teacher and Director) each semester as well as two CDA Plus options, one in English and one in Portuguese. Students are supported by embedded ESL or Dual Language tutors who also offer help sessions outside of class time, in-person, by telephone and online. Textbooks are also provided for all courses. The CDA also meets the education requirements for EEC Lead Teacher certification. Both CDA options are two semesters long. Classes are free with additional financial support for the CDA application and a stipend for participation. The CDA in English consists of three three-credit courses, Child Development, Introduction to ECE and CDA Assessment, two face-to-face and one online. The Portuguese program provides one semester of noncredit coursework (Professional Preparation for CDA in Portuguese and ESL for CDA), followed by one semester of the three-credit CDA Assessment course, all delivered face-to-face. When students from either program receive the CDA credential, they are awarded an additional six credits for a practicum course. Educators can apply all of their MassBay EEC certification coursework or CDA credits toward their next academic step with a smooth transition into either a preschool or infant/toddler college certificate (requiring 18 credits) or an associate's degree in early childhood education (61 credits). In addition to tuition the Career Pathways grant provides funds for textbooks and tutors, for specialized advising on professional and academic pathways for early childhood educators, additional evening hours of operation for the writing centers on both Framingham and Wellesley campuses, assistance with FAFSA and EEC grant applications, and development of new course offerings that meet the needs of the ECE workforce. These include noncredit ESL courses with contextualized early childhood content and online leadership mini courses. Grant funds also support integrated technology learning opportunities in ECE classes.

Learn more about what the Career Pathways Program at Mass Bay Community College offers.

Or contact: Linda Romero, EEC Career Pathways Grant Coordinator; lromero@massbay.edu; 508-270-4288

Massasoit Community College Career Pathways

Massasoit Community College offers a Child Development Associate (CDA) Program in an effort to identify and holistically address the needs of the early childhood education workforce from enrollment to successful college completion by tailoring professional development and course offerings and transforming instructional practices in the classroom, systems of advising, and student services. The primary goal of the CDA Program is to provide students an opportunity to obtain the CDA Credential, and to move students towards obtaining their Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. Prerequisites include: ECED 102- Child Development ECED 101- Positive Guidance ECED 111- Early Childhood Curriculum: A Multicultural Perspective Or ECED 231: Infant/ Toddler Care Or Corequisite: Current ECE work verification (minimum of one year) in an Infant, Toddler, Preschool or Family Child Care setting in MA or departmental approval. Massasoit Community College offers a variety of supports including free CPR/First Aid/AED courses to early childhood professionals, textbooks for grant-funded courses, tutoring, NAEYC memberships for students, advising, professional development opportunities.

Early Childhood Education Programs

Early Childhood Education Career Pathways Grant

Or contact: Susan Driscoll, EEC Career Pathways Grant Director; sdriscol3@massasoit.mass.edu; 774-360-5432

Middlesex Community College Career Pathways

The Middlesex Community College (MCC) Career Pathways Grant provides opportunity for students to engage in coursework that leads to; the Child Development Associate (CDA), cover costs associated with college tuition, text books, testing fees, and contextualized tutoring services, and career and college advising. The sequence of courses is designed to promote matriculation to the ECE Certificate and/or Associates/Transfer degrees. Courses are delivered through a variety of modalities including weekend schedules, hybrid, online, and traditional face to face options. Pathways to EEC certification including Teacher, Lead Teacher, Director I and Director II are addressed through a diverse set of courses aimed at fortifying a well-informed ECE workforce. For educators seeking a bachelor’s degree additional funding has been identified to support a partnership with Lesley University on the MCC campus. For dual language educators MCC provides additional support with ESOL classes at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. A range of academic entry points have been carefully constructed to support the varied learning styles of the early education community. The grant also provides a wide variety of support services designed to increase success for all students. These include academic and career advising, developmental courses (reading, writing and math), and targeted English as a Second Language (ESOL). Financial assistance covers the cost of tuition, fees, and course materials. ECE Career Pathways students have access to all campus amenities and programs available on the MCC campus, including; technology labs and, civic and service-learning opportunities, student clubs and organizations, veteran’s services, disability services, counseling, fitness and recreation centers, and the Asian-American Student Advancement Program. 

Learn more about what the Career Pathways Program at Middlesex Community College offers.

Or contact: Nancy Pynchon; PYNCHONN@middlesex.mass.edu or ececareerpathways@middlesex.mass.edu; 978-656-3236

Mount Wachusett Community College Career Pathways

Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) Career Pathways program is designed for the early childhood working community as well as those new to the field of early childhood education. Coursework offered leads to Massachusetts Department of Education and Care certification as a Teacher, Lead Teacher, Infant Toddler Lead Teacher, Director I and Director II. Students will receive college credit for CDA coursework. MWCC offers the CDA program in 3 formats, college ready CDA, Adult Education Training track with contextualized English coursework, and a track for adults who will receive a high school equivalency course as they simultaneously work towards their CDA. MWCC also has a college ready lead teacher track consisting of ECE college courses that results in Lead teacher, and a 25 credit ECE certificate from MWCC upon completion. All of the CDA tracks can lead to 10 college credits that fit into the 25 credit ECE certificate program, which in turn stacks into the associate program. The associate degree can lead to a bachelor’s degree program or a master's degree program. MWCC ECE Career Pathways program helps lead students to successful course completion. Some of the ways we help with students’ success are by removing the financial burden of course work– the MWCC ECE Career Pathways program provides coursework that is free to participants that qualify, help with college preparation for courses. The college offers college readiness coaching to help students prepare for the Accuplacer test, allows students access to loaned netbooks, transportation and childcare costs, offers student stipends to help cover costs of transportation and other incidentals incurred due to college attendance, time constraints. The MWCC Child Care Administration course will be offered in a hybrid model and other models are being created, removing the costs of books and supplies. MWCC will supply these items, embedded academic assistance. MWCC will provide embedded tutors in all courses, and online tutor capability, field placement. MWCC partners with community-based organizations that allows for assisting students in finding an early childhood placement if they are new to the field, academic advising and assistance with their educational planning.

Learn more about what the Career Pathways Program at Mount Wachusett Community College offers.

Or contact: Jonie Latimer-Brady, ECE CP Director; jlatimerbrady@mwcc.mass.edu; (978) 630-9553,

North Shore Community College Career Pathways

The Career Pathways grant at North Shore Community College offers the following supports and services for educators and those seeking to enter the ECE field: ESL classes and bilingual workshops, support in Adult Basic Education to earn high school equivalency, a comprehensive Teacher Training Program for those wanting to start a career in ECE, courses and support to advance in EEC certification (Teacher, Lead Teacher, Director 1 and Director 2), an online, accelerated Emerging Leaders program, courses and support to earn a national Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, opportunities for enhanced leadership in the field of ECE and OST and advising and courses to build toward an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree! Courses available for the CDA Plus model include: Two 3-credit courses: Child Growth and Development, Field Placement and Seminar One 6-credit course: Introduction to CDA and Portfolio Development. The Career Pathways grant at North Shore Community College offers targeted academic and career advising for Career Pathways grant participants; as well as an array of additional support services (language, financial, child care, etc.) as needed for participants to be successful in reaching their goals, including EEC certification &/or degree attainment.

Learn more about what the Career Pathways Program at North Shore Community College offers.

Or contact: Kathy Gallo, Region 3 Partnership Career Pathways Director, 781-593-6722 extension 6249; kgallo@northshore.edu

Northern Essex Community College Career Pathways

The Career Pathways Grant at Northern Essex Community College (NECC) supports students who are currently working with young children as well as those who desire a career in this rewarding field. NECC offers courses required for each level of certification through EEC including a CDA plus program which will give students the courses needed to apply for this nationally recognized credential through the Council for Professional Recognition. Additionally, Northern Essex offers a Director’s Certificate and has a partnership with North Shore Community College to offer accelerated Emerging Leaders cohorts, as well as Bachelor’s, and Master’s Completion programs at cooperating Colleges/Universities in our geographic region. The Career Pathways grant at Northern Essex Community College offers many supports to ensure the success of our students. Academic and Career Advising is available in English as well as Spanish, English classes, English language support in coursework, financial supports including the cost of tuition and textbooks are all available as needed. Career Pathways students also have access to the many supports and programs available at Northern Essex which will help them achieve their goals.

Learn more about what the Career Pathways Program at Northern Essex Community College offers.

Or contact: Doris Buckley, Director of Early Childhood Education Career Pathways; dbuckley@necc.mass.edu; 978-556-3374

Quinsigamond Community College Career Pathways

The Career Pathways Grant at Quinsigamond Community College supports 3 different areas. Our CDA Plus program is a 25-week program that prepares students to earn the CDA credential. After award of the CDA credential students can apply to Center for Prior Learning for up to 9 credits in Early Childhood Education. We also have a Dual-Language program for students speaking Spanish or Portuguese where students are enrolled in our Birth - Age 8 certificate program and complete the courses in that program. Finally, our Leadership Program is a certificate program which also allows students to enroll at Worcester State University to earn credit toward a Bachelor or Master’s degree.  Students entering this program must have an Associate’s Degree prior to entering the program. As part of our CDA Plus program tutoring, ] books, travel stipends, weekly students visits, and coaching are offered. We also offer a program that provides language support and "soft skills" to prepare students to enter degree programs.

Learn more about what the Career Pathways Program at Quinsigamond Community College offers.

Or contact: Kyla McSweeney, Career Pathways Director; kmcsweeney@qcc.mass.edu; 508-751-7940 or Rachel Wallace, Program Specialist; rwallace@qcc.mass.edu; 508-751-7934

Roxbury Community College Career Pathways

Our Career Pathways CDA Plus Program at Roxbury Community College, consists of 4 Early Childhood Education credit bearing courses for a total of 12 college credits. The four courses are the following: ACS 102: The College Experience (3 credits) ECE 100: Foundations of Early Childhood Education (3 credits) ECE 101: Child Growth and Development (3 credits) ECE 105: Health, Safety, and Nutrition (3 credits) Since we included the course Child Growth and Development, students will be on a pathway to apply for Teacher Certification after completing the required work experience. When earning the CDA credential, in addition to completing the required work experience, educators are eligible to apply for Lead Teacher certification. As part of facilitating resources and supports for pathway progression for our students, we are providing educators with all the textbooks required for the 4 CDA Plus courses including the CDA Council book for their program type. Students will have access to laptops in the ECE classrooms, the Learning Center, and the Library to complete their assignments. We are also covering the educator’s CDA application fee and providing their NAEYC membership fee. In order to support certification, we are also proving a First Aid/CPR class for our CDA Plus educators. All of our RCC students have access to an array of support services including: Financial Aid Counselor, academic support, tutoring services, career pathway advising, computer lab, College Library, Project Access Resources, and Student Accessibility Services.

Learn more about what the Career Pathways Program at Roxbury Community College offers.

Or contact: Jennifer Kearns-Fox, Director, Early Childhood Education; JKearnsFox@rcc.mass.edu

Springfield Community College Career Pathways

The Career Pathways Grant at Springfield Technical Community College provides funding for students to take up to 20 credits that lead to a Child Development Associate Plus (CDA+) Certificate of Completion, and prepares graduates to earn the CDA credential through the Council for Professional Recognition. Courses are offered in the evenings to accommodate student work schedules and are delivered in an online and hybrid format. The courses in the CDA+ Certificate of Completion program meet the requirements that lead to EEC certification as Teacher, Lead Teacher, and Director I and II. All the CDA + courses articulate into the Early Childhood Associate’s degree, which in turn can transfer to a Bachelor’s degree. The courses in the CDA+ program include: Child Growth and Development (3 credits) Introduction to Early Childhood Education (3 credits) Curriculum for Early Childhood Education with Lab (4 credits). Sociology of the Family (3 credits) Early Childhood Practicum (4 credits) And the choice of one of the following: Infant and Toddler Methods and Techniques (3 credits) Guiding Child Behavior (3 credits) Administration of Family Child Care 3 credits). Students have no costs for tuition, fees, or textbooks.  Chromebooks and hot spots are available for students to borrow. Additionally, students have access to a new stat of the art learning lab.  Childcare and transportation stipends are available as well. Students receive academic advising and career counseling. One-on-one and small group tutoring is available in the evenings and Saturdays. Students are supported through the CDA application process, and their CDA application fee is paid for by the grant.

Learn more about what the Career Pathways program at Springfield Technical Community College offers.

Or contact: Nancy Ward, Career Pathways Director; njward@stcc.edu; 413-755-4120

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