A Redwood City-based non-profit announced on Thursday that it is launching a program to support immigrants seeking careers in early childhood education.
Upward Scholars is introducing an academic and career support initiative called TeacherUp, which will help residents throughout San Mateo County enroll in college, connect with employers and receive wraparound support like stipends.
The program builds on the 2018 workforce development pilot called the Teacher Pipeline Project, developed by the organization Community Equity Collaborative to address the shortage of early educators across the Bay Area's peninsula. It was backed by local community colleges, schools, nonprofits and policymakers.
The project also successfully prompted state legislation to increase awareness on the challenges and financial barriers residents face when seeking careers in early childhood education, which disproportionately affect women and people of color.
Executive Director at Community Equity Collaborative Dayna Chung said now is the time to invest towards an equitable learning workforce amidst the worsening educator shortage.
"Early childhood educators are an essential ingredient in the human infrastructure that supports healthy families and strong, local economies," Chung said. "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."
TeacherUp plans to also provide students with tutoring, scholarships, laptops, food vouchers, transportation assistance and other services from Upward Scholars' other programs, like NannyUp.
"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," said Upward Scholars Executive Director Linda Prieto.