BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - A partnership between the Blinn College District and Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley is helping to ensure that child care centers in the Brazos Valley continue to exceed state expectations.
Since 2016, Blinn’s Child Development Program has partnered with Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley to provide financial aid for 26 program graduates, covering tuition, fees, textbooks, and parking.
To commemorate the achievements of these students, Blinn and Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley recently hosted a ceremony to recognize the graduates who earned an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in child development, Child Care Worker certificate, or Occupational Skills Achievement awards in Early Childhood and Child Care Administration.
Dawn Baggett (College Station), Lauren Cole (Bryan), Yanet Flores-Trejo (College Station), Ginny Gaskamp (Brenham), Pamela Jones (Bryan), Tiara Johnson (Bryan), Chelsea Koopman (Brenham), Marcelina Lopez (Hearne), Jessica Palacios (Brenham), Sharon Schwartz (Brenham), D’Angela Sims (Caldwell), Melissa Stewart (Hearne), and Christy Widener (Bryan) completed or will complete one or more levels of the program this semester.
“The goal of this partnership is to raise the quality of child care in the Brazos Valley,” Program Coordinator Amy Jones said. “The funding from the Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley has helped take away some of the barriers that prevented these students from pursuing higher education in the past. We are very proud of our students’ commitment to improving child care in the Brazos Valley.”
Blinn’s Child Development Program curriculum aligns with Texas Rising Star (TRS), a voluntary, quality-based child care rating system of child care providers participating in the Texas Workforce Commission’s subsidized child care program. TRS-certified providers exceed the state’s child care licensing standards, and in return receive valuable benefits.
Individuals who completed Blinn’s Child Care Worker certificate were able to apply their courses and field experience toward TRS’s certification requirements and earn their AAS in child development.
Sharon Schwartz, Assistant Director of Christ Lutheran Day School in Brenham, completed her associate degree in Fall 2017. She credited the financial assistance, advising, and the flexibility of online courses that Blinn and Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley provided for her success.
“I am very appreciative of this partnership,” she said. “Not only was I assisted financially, but I was given so much moral support from both organizations, and I was able to complete the program at my own pace.”
Blinn’s Child Development Program prepares graduates to be professional, knowledgeable, and dedicated to ensuring high-quality early childhood experiences in safe and nurturing environments. Courses combine academic background and practical work experience necessary for the successful care, guidance, and education of young children.
Beginning this spring, Blinn’s Child Development Program will be offered entirely online.
“The faculty in the Child Development Program have dedicated countless hours to bringing these courses online for the convenience of our students,” Jones said. “These classes are modified to be more accessible, yet provide the same quality instruction as the traditional face-to-face courses.”