Bronx Community College Awarded $125,000 Grant to Train Preschool Professionals

A $125,000 Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation Grant Gives Low-Income

Students Workplace Credentials Required by City Schools

Preschoolers at the Bronx Community College Early Childhood Center

Preschoolers at the Bronx Community College Early Childhood Center

JUNE 20, 2016 — The CareerPath Teacher Assistant Training Program, an initiative by Bronx Community College of The City University of New York to give low-income students the workplace credentials required of teacher aides, assistants and paraprofessionals in New York City preschools, has been awarded a $125,000 one-year grant from The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation.

         "The expansion of pre-kindergartens in New York City is so important for the education and well-being of children in the Bronx — it is critical to have well-qualified teacher aides and paraprofessionals in these pre-kindergarten sites,” observes Beth Lief, Executive Director of the Petrie Foundation. “Now Bronx Community College will enable low-income individuals to become certified and qualified in those positions and, in addition, will support them to find teaching positions. The graduates of the program will also be well-positioned to matriculate into a BCC degree program.  This is a triple win."

         The program has already shown impressive results. “The CareerPath Teacher Assistant Training Program has enrolled over 500 students since January 2012 — and many of our students who graduated have found employment as a teacher assistant with our early childhood partnering agencies,” says Madelaine Centeno, the program’s director, who also points to the “ninety or more students who have enrolled here at Bronx Community College or another CUNY/SUNY institution — fifteen of those students have graduated with an A.A.S. degree in Early Childhood Education.”

         CareerPath participants can earn up to 12 college credits in early childhood education and a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education that is often a doorway to a career in the field. The program also offers certifications in health and safety, CPR and Medication Administration, all part of the training needed to become an assistant teacher in an early childhood center.

         Students enrolled in the CDA are placed in internships with early childhood programs, such as Head Start, Montefiore Medical Center’s early childhood program, the YMCA of Queens and day care centers across the city.  Once students successfully complete the program, their resumes are sent to partner agencies for possible employment.

         The BCC Department of Education and Reading oversees the program. Dr. Joan E. Wilson, the Department chairperson, predicts that CareerPath “will positively impact the inter-generational socio-economic mobility of less-advantaged students and their families, thus fulfilling one of the critical missions of America’s community colleges.”