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The Children & Family Resource Center (CFRC) is excited to announce its receipt of the award for Outstanding WIOA Workforce Collaboration in partnership with the Buncombe County Partnership for Children from Mountain Area Workforce Development Board (MAWDB) on the Early Childhood Workforce Development Program. Our region faces a severe shortage of trained Early Childhood Educators and does not have enough qualified educators to meet current or future classroom staffing needs. Frequent turnover harms teachers, children, and the child care programs and in 2018, Governor Roy Cooper and the NC Department of Commerce acknowledging this, granted the MAWDBa $400,000.00 NC Works Innovation Fund Grant, one of three in the State awarded at that level in order to address this shortage. This grant is intended to train, educate, empower, and assist those from diverse and under-resourced backgrounds in gaining employment in the early childhood field, while also increasing the number of experienced teachers who can provide a consistent and stable learning environment to the children in our local child care settings.  Since the program’s inception in Henderson County in June of 2019, Children & Family Resource Center has trained multiple cohorts, supported participants with enrollment and completion in Intro to Early Childhood at Blue Ridge Community College, and placed participants in local early childhood classrooms as substitutes.  CFRC Director of Programs Cindy Montgomery shared that “CFRC appreciates being acknowledged for this collaboration and is proud of the work supporting both the early childhood pipeline and the employment and increased self-sufficiency for participants.”

As a result of the success of this collaboration, the Mountain Area Workforce Development’s Board recognized both Children and Family Resource Center and the Buncombe Partnership for improving outcomes for the children in our region’s child care programs and preparing them for success. Investing in early childhood education is an effective strategy for reducing social costs, improving economic prospects for parents, and providing enduring benefits for children into adulthood. High-quality learning environments not only impact each child, but also strengthen our workforce today and prepares future generations.