State Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, attended the bill signing Wednesday for her legislation, House Bill 2878, to help early childhood teachers advance their careers and strengthen families’ access to high-quality child care.
“Illinois is facing a shortage of early childhood educators, which is making it difficult for parents to begin or return to work in some cases,” said Stuart. “This new law will provide additional flexibility and support for child care workers to earn higher degrees and increase their earning potential, while also improving child care options for families statewide.”
Stuart passed House Bill 2878, which pushes community colleges and universities to participate in a statewide consortium to streamline the process for experienced child care workers to earn teaching degrees. Upon signing the bill, Gov. J.B. Pritzker also announced a $200 million investment in Illinois’ early childhood education workforce over the next two years, with the majority of funding going toward mentoring and scholarships for early childhood professionals to pursue four-year degrees.
“This major investment will go a long way toward growing the number of highly skilled early childhood educators in Illinois and advancing equity in this industry,” said Stuart. “Removing financial barriers for early childhood education students will help them build successful careers as they continue serving children and families in our communities.”