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Wednesday, October 23 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
Lightning Session: Two Drexel University Community Engagement Programs Team Up to Support Early Childhood Education and Workforce Development

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Two Drexel Office of University and Community Partnerships Programs – Workforce and Economic Inclusion and Action for Early Learning (AFEL) – have created a tailored program that supports workforce development and quality ECE aligned with a citywide priority to increase access to high-quality Pre-K for all children. AFEL is a Drexel-led collaboration of education, social service and community-based organizations working to improve the quality of ECE in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone, a federally designated high-need, high poverty area. Key to AFEL’s success is a place-based strategy that supports 25 West Philadelphia childcare providers’ ECE quality improvement in the statewide quality rating system. The City of Philadelphia’s recent priority around universal Pre-K has led to an increase in demand for qualified ECE instructors. Drexel’s Workforce and Economic Inclusion has adapted its Medical Assistant Pipeline Program to address this need by recruiting, pre-screening, providing foundational skills training and supporting participants through the AFEL Child Development Associate (CDA) Program. This a free program for unemployed, under-employed and currently employed childcare workers or residents of West Philadelphia in need of the credential to maintain or improve their employment and support the childcare provider’s continuous quality improvement. This strategy aligns with Drexel President John Fry’s strong commitment to civic engagement. In the past two years, 30 participants have earned CDA certification, supporting their program’s need for credentialed workers, improving quality ratings and positively impacting the lives of more than 1,100 West Philadelphia children.

avatar for Soneyet Muhammad

Soneyet Muhammad

Director, Workforce and Economic Inclusion, Drexel University

Maria Walker

Project Director, Drexel University Action for Early Learning
For more than 15 years, Maria Walker has worked in a variety of capacities to improve the lives of Philadelphians. Currently Project Director for Drexel University’s Office of University and Community Partnerships, Walker has coordinated several programs to improve educational outcomes... Read More →

Wednesday October 23, 2019 11:00am - 12:00pm EDT
Commonwealth A1

Attendees (3)