Illinois Board of Higher Education To Use $1.3M To Grow the Number of Early Childhood Professionals in the State

Graduate throwing graduation cap in air

The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) has received $1.3M in federal funds through the Preschool Development Birth to Five Renewal Grant to offer the Early Childhood Credential Completion Cohort Grant. IBHE is seeking proposals from two- and four-year public and private institutions of higher education for at least four grants for “cohorts” of early childhood educators for Academic Year 2020- 2021 that include tailored supports to ensure persistence and degree attainment.

The EC4 grant initiative is designed to grow the number of working early childhood professionals who hold an Illinois Gateways credential or degree. Additional goals of the programs include to:

  • Build the degrees and credentials of the incumbent workforce
  • Foster the development of innovative cohort models tailored to meet the needs of the incumbent workforce
  • Promote opportunities for place-based learning
  • Increase advancement of educators along the early childhood pathway
  • Address demonstrated local and regional workforce needs
  • Provide opportunities to test traditional and nontraditional student supports
  • Promote equitable opportunities to access higher education and degree/credential advancement
  • Identify replicable and/or scalable projects that use grant funding to build and test new models.

Eligible Illinois institutions of higher education may apply for grant funds by June 8th, 2020.