Newsmakers: Camp Fire names early education program director

Eboni Kelly

Camp Fire names early education program director

Camp Fire First Texas has hired Eboni Kelly as director of the Early Education Apprenticeship Program (EEAP). The newly formed director position at Camp Fire will lead the equally fresh and first-of-its-kind program for early educators in the state of Texas, Camp Fire said in a news release.

Camp Fire First Texas announced Aug. 2 that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has approved the first Early Education Apprenticeship Program. The two-year program will begin accepting applications and admitting the inaugural group of apprentices in early 2020 and will run congruent concurrent with to collegiate schedules when classes begin in August.

“The Early Education Apprenticeship Program is pivotal in the trajectory of early education in Fort Worth and Texas at -large,” Kelly said in the release.

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Lyn Lucas, Chief Program Office at Camp Fire First Texas, said DOL approval solidifies the program as a state-recognized apprenticeship.

That includes a state- issued, non-expiring Child Care Development Specialist credential in addition to providing support of mandatory wage increases, on-the-job learning, coaching from a highly-skilled early education mentor, and accumulation of college credit, Lucas said.

“This will ultimately elevate the level of quality care offered to the children and families within our communities at -large,” Kelly said.

Kelly received her master of science degree in instruction and curriculum leadership from the University of Memphis along with graduate certificates in African- American literature and literacy, leadership and coaching. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

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Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said, “An Early Education Apprenticeship Program lifts the earning potential and professionalism of a vital industry, while also improving the availability for families to access quality early educational experience for their children through professional and skilled early educators.,” said Mayor Betsy Price. “Programs such as these get to the heart of supporting economic development in our community.”

The inaugural class will enroll 20 individualsapprentices. Camp Fire said that upon completion of the program, apprentices will:

• Earn a non-expiring Child Care Development Specialist Certificate from the Department of Labor;

• Earn college credit through Tarrant County College and Tarleton State University;

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• Have their apprenticeship experience recognized by the Texas Early Childhood Career Lattice for Practitioners; and

• Be able to negotiate for higher wages.

“Following the inaugural class in August 2020, we plan to enroll another 20-plus early educators to the program annually. We will continue to explore and engage a multitude of partners and sources of sustainable funding as the program grows and our apprentices graduate,” said Lucas said.

Camp Fire First Texas Early Education Apprenticeship PThe program will be offered in partnership with Workforce Solutions of Tarrant County, Tarrant County Community College, Tarleton State University and Teacher Education and Compensation Helps.

Funding support has been provided by the George and Faye Young Foundation, The Miles Foundation, the Rainwater Charitable Foundation, the Sid Richardson Foundation and Tarrant County United Way.


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