Shippensburg University has been awarded a $60,000 PASmart grant, the result of collaborative work on developing and launching the south-central Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program. The PASmart grant program supports job training in Pennsylvania through apprenticeship programs in building and construction, early childhood education, information technology, maintenance and advanced manufacturing.

Ship’s program, led by Dr. Jennifer Pyles, assistant professor of early childhood education, is part of the larger Pennsylvania Early Childhood Education (ECE) Apprenticeship Career Pathway Initiative to unite all of Pennsylvania’s ECE Apprenticeship programs into one career pathway-spanning initiative, registering 800 new apprentices and creating a national model for a comprehensive ECE Apprenticeship system.

Ship’s program is the first in the South-Central Region. By its second year, Ship aims to expand to 30 apprenticeships by working with multi-leveled employers, such as: Capital Area Head Start, with 21 locations in the Cumberland, Dauphin and Junita counties; Franklin County Head Start with 18 locations, and Shippensburg Head Start with 10 locations.

Last year, Pyles was awarded a Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant to develop a Center for Early Childhood Education at Ship.

“It is exciting work and an exciting time for employers, community members and institutions of higher education,” said Pyles.