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Arizona PBS, First Things First expanding scholarship program for future early childhood educators

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Collaborative initiative now offering prospective teachers full scholarships; aspiring early childhood educators urged to apply

Arizona PBS, a community service of Arizona State University, today announced the expansion of the early childhood educator scholarship program. Supported by Arizona’s early childhood agency, First Things First, the program offers scholarships to aspiring early childhood educators completing associate and bachelor’s degrees. Previously, the scholarship program has had a limited number of bachelor degrees in specific areas of the state. Now, thanks to a new contract between First Things First and the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s (DES) Division of Child Care, any early childhood practitioner pursuing a bachelor’s level coursework towards a degree in early childhood education is eligible to apply and may be awarded a scholarship for tuition, books and fees.

One of many initiatives in Arizona tasked with addressing the state’s growing educational workforce needs, the early childhood educator scholarship program was launched in the fall of 2015 and awarded approximately 680 individuals with scholarships in its inaugural year. Since then, this collaboration between Arizona PBS and First Things First has connected more than 6,000 prospective educators with a scholarship.

“Arizona PBS was created to serve as an educational resource to all who call our state home,” said the station’s general manager, Adrienne R. Fairwell. “I can’t think of an initiative that aligns better with that mission than the early childhood educator scholarship program. We thank First Things First for their continued trust and partnership and look forward to watching the impact this expansion will have in classrooms across Arizona.”

Created by Arizona voters in 2006, First Things First works to expand and enhance early childhood education, health and parenting programs that ensure more children arrive at kindergarten prepared to be successful. Arizona PBS receives grant funding from First Things First to execute a variety of initiatives, including the Arizona Early Childhood Educator Workforce Registry and the aforementioned scholarship program.

“It’s our privilege to collaborate with First Things First on these important initiatives. We talk to teachers and see firsthand the impact that these programs are having,” said Arizona PBS senior director of Educational Outreach, Kimberly Flack. “Now that full scholarships are available, I urge any aspiring educator who’s interested in teaching early learners to explore this opportunity and apply.”

Resources

Individuals looking to apply for one of these scholarships should visit the Arizona Early Childhood Career and Professional Development Network website for more information.

Additional information about Arizona PBS’ robust educational outreach efforts can be found at www.azpbs.org/education.

To learn more about other DES-funded initiatives that support the early childhood workforce, visit the DES child care website.

Related content

Scholarship program helps Arizona educators raise the bar, a 2019 article about the First Things First scholarship program.

First Things First also contributes advice for parents and caretakers on our Arizona PBS Writes page.

About Arizona PBS

Arizona PBS is one of the nation’s leading public media organizations, with four broadcast channels and a growing array of digital platforms. A trusted community resource for 60 years, Arizona PBS fosters lifelong learning through quality programming, in-depth news coverage and critical educational outreach services. It is one of the country’s largest public television stations, reaching 80 percent of Arizona homes and 1.9 million households each week. Arizona PBS has been part of Arizona State University since the station launched in 1961. Learn more at https://azpbs.org.

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