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For immediate release — Feb. 25, 2020
(DALLAS) — The PNC Foundation has committed initial funding for an inaugural cohort of Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) students currently working in regional early childhood centers with children from birth to 3 years old.
The funding will support the new Dallas County Community College District School of Education and its Early Childhood Institute, which will be offering a first-of-its-kind, four-year baccalaureate degree program in early childhood education and teaching this fall.
“We cannot talk about education in this region and state without including a dialogue about the need for high-quality early childhood education,” said Dr. Rob DeHaas, the founding dean of the Early Childhood Institute at Brookhaven College. “Right now, there is a significant need for qualified early childhood educators across our city, so we need to roll up our sleeves to help continue the momentum our supporters and champions, like PNC, have started.”
This $75,000 grant will help early childhood education teachers who are serving low-income neighborhoods to attain enhanced credentials or a degree. Those teachers will then qualify for higher wages and offer enriched skill sets in the classroom. More so, the degree program is expected to help increase wages and close the wage gap for early educators, which are currently $10 to $12 an hour in the region.
“At PNC, we understand how critical high-quality early childhood education is to ensure the continued success of our community and ultimately, the economy in North Texas,” said Brendan McGuire, PNC regional president for North Texas. “We believe that our future workforce depends on the training early childhood educators receive before they set foot in the classroom, and that’s the reason we support the Early Childhood Institute at Brookhaven College.”
In addition to the new Early Childhood Institute opening, DCCCD is launching a brand-new school of education that will instantly become one of the largest in the country. Brookhaven College will be the first community college in the state of Texas to offer a bachelor’s degree program focused on early childhood education.
In 2017, Dr. Joe May, chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District, petitioned the Texas Legislature to pass legislation that would allow DCCCD to offer a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. The new law passed, and the district began laying the foundation for the degree program about two years ago.
“We are excited to offer a degree program that will help enable more young children to enter Dallas-area classrooms because we will have more teachers with the appropriate credentials to teach them,” said Chancellor May. “The program will fill a critical gap important to the future of our region.”
The announcement of the grant funding took place at the Dallas Regional Chamber’s inaugural State of Early Childhood Education event Feb. 12. To learn more about the work of DCCCD, please visit our School of Education website at dcccd.edu/education.
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The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multiyear initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.
The Dallas County Community College District, founded in 1965, comprises seven individually accredited colleges: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland. All DCCCD colleges offer online learning. The district serves more than 83,000 credit and 25,000 continuing education students during the fall and spring semesters. DCCCD also offers dual credit for students in partner high schools and early college high schools throughout Dallas County. Dr. Joe May, the district’s seventh chancellor, has established the DCCCD higher education network in partnership with area school districts, colleges and universities, businesses, community organizations and others to support student success and college completion by removing barriers and providing services that help students earn a college credential and start their professional careers.