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Here for the Kids: Graduating from YWCA’s Workforce Development Program

By YWCA Minneapolis
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May 5, 2021

Jennifer learned about YWCA’s Workforce Development Program through her old school – Longfellow High School. She knew another student who completed the program and that piqued her interest. She was excited about going into the Early Childhood Education field, plus, she thought it might help her be a better mom.

Learning How to Help Children Thrive

The Workforce Development Program prepares people with the professional skills to teach in an Early Childhood Education classroom, setting them up to successfully earn their Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Participants learn how to advance young children’s physical, intellectual, social and emotional development through classroom management and educating through play.

Everything Impacts How they Grow Up

Jennifer says she learned a lot in the program. “What happens to babies’ brains when they are given positive interactions… I would have never imagined that was scientifically proven,” she says. In fact, Jennifer says it changed the way she sees children: “Now I know that it doesn’t matter how little they are, they know what is going on around them. Everything we do impacts how they grow up.”

Wanting Better for the Next Generation

“I realized a lot of us work with kids because of good and bad experiences we had in the past and we want it to be better for kids today.”

Some of the program activities built comradery and affirmed for participants why they chose the Early Childhood Education field. One particular activity that stood out to Jennifer – all the participants wrote poems about their own childhood. “I realized a lot of us work with kids because of good and bad experiences we had in the past and we want it to be better for kids today. All of us — different ages, races, single/married, kids or no kids – we were all there because we want to work with children and be better for them,” says Jennifer.

Growing in Her Job

Jennifer is now working as a teacher aide at YWCA Children’s Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. “When I started, I had no experience other than being a mom. I’ve grown a lot in my job and learned how to be a professional teacher,” she says. She has big plans for the future, like earning her bachelor’s degree and getting a house for her family, and she has many ideas for where her career can take her. If she stays in the field, Jennifer says can see herself being a leader in Early Childhood Education.

Learn More about YWCA’s Workforce Development Program