Honolulu Community College (HonCC) has been designing an apprenticeship program with a community-based Native Hawaiian educational organization that employs a teaching workforce who serve young children, birth through age 5, and their families.. This apprenticeship program is a job-embedded early childhood education training program, where the teaching workforce are working full-time and are interested in earning community college ECE credits and forming a cohort of students to pursue an associate degree that leads to a bachelor degree in ECE. Coursework and class sessions are held at their workplace. As a cohort, they will have on-site mentor teachers and an off-site community college cohort coordinator and field supervisor. The pilot will begin with a cohort of students who are working full-time in the field and are interested in pursuing an associate degree that leads to a bachelor’s degree. The goal is for this cohort to receive all of the ECE course credits needed for an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in two years. The students’ ability to understand and relate to the course content and apply to their daily work experiences will increase their likelihood of success with class assignments and assessments and improve the quality of teaching practices at the workplace. This pilot will directly address key barriers to access by bringing credit-bearing coursework to students where they are rather than expecting students to come to a college campus.
As part of the apprenticeship model, HonCC faculty will develop coursework in partnership with the community agency with the needs of the community in mind. Faculty will use current ECE course objectives and reimagine how those can be taught using a place-based framework. The HonCC ECE faculty have participated in an intensive year-long professional development called Hoʻāla Hou, a culture and place-based training program for faculty, staff, and administrators aimed at infusing Hawaiian culture, traditions and values in teaching, learning and service in order to support student success and completion. This uniquely situates the HonCC faculty to meet the needs of Hawaiʻi’s culturally diverse population.
Upon completion of their A.S. coursework, faculty will help students transition to a bachelor’s degree program through continued advising, intensive mentoring, bridging relationships between university faculty and students, and potentially location based or jointly-offered coursework.