Recently, twelve employees at For Kids Only Afterschool (FKO) Out-of-School Time Apprentices completed their first college course in their recently expanded roles as full-time out-of-school-time (OST) educators. Anthony Maurais, Derek DiLisi, Elida Flores, Hayley Precopio, Jason Hennessey, Keila Fernandes De Pina, Killian Driscoll, Laura Baptista, Jesenia Bey, Leila Ribeiro, Nuala Richards, and Tashira Godding were among those who completed the course.
FKO has been fortunate to recruit dedicated, passionate staff who love working with children, yet with the extremely competitive labor market, keeping passionate workers in programs has never been harder for childcare providers. Utilizing funding from COVID-relief grants, FKO creatively designed what is believed to be the first apprenticeship model program for the OST workforce in the Commonwealth.
As part of the apprenticeship model, FKO’s cohort of full-time workers are enrolled in an early childhood college certificate program targeted specifically to the learning needs of OST educators through a partnership with North Shore Community College (NSCC). Funded in part through the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Cares Early Educator Career Pathways Program, there are no costs to staff. The cohort is also benefitting from weekly community of practice sessions facilitated by NSCC, weekly 1:1 meetings with an assigned mentor, and on the job training to help put their new skills into practice.
The apprenticeship model is drawing on extensive FKO fundraising with support from the Amelia Peabody Foundation, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s ASOST-Rebound grant, EEC’s Commonwealth Cares for Children’s C3 grant and EEC’s Early Educator Career Pathways Program. With these resources, FKO has expanded existing part-time OST work into full-time positions with benefits for a cohort of 22 staff members. Work is underway to secure public and private funds to continue and expand this important initiative over the long-term. The overall goal for the cohort is to increase worker’s ability to deliver quality enrichment for school-age youth and to support the retention of skilled workers. With their expanded roles and increased income, group leaders are participating in extensive professional development opportunities and daily planning time to design lessons and activities that support children’s learning and social-emotional recovery after two very difficult years.
FKO is honored to be able to continue to offer this incredible opportunity to those interested in developing classroom, youth development and mentoring skills. To learn more about FKO visit fkoafterschool.org/ .
FKO is a nonprofit organization providing out of school time care to communities in and around the Metro Boston area.