Central Oregon University Program Aims to Increase Child Care Workforce with Free Tuition

A 2019 report from Oregon State University identified central Oregon as a “childcare wasteland” due to the lack of care available for children under five. Now, a new career development program seeks to change that, with financial incentives for students in the field of early childhood education.

The Early Learning Career Development Program provides up to $12,000 in tuition for students at OSU-Cascades and Central Oregon Community College. It also offers paid work experience in the field of child care.

Joe Klein


Oregon State University-Cascades

Students listen and learn from Professor Shannon Lipscomb about early childhood education and skills for developmentally appropriate, trauma-informed and culturally appropriate teaching.

In Bend, Shannon Lipscomb teaches and coordinates OSU-Cascades’ Human Development and Family Sciences program. She said that this opportunity has big advantages.
“We invest in the education and financial success of young educators and we support the employment of parents. We know that child care is critically important for families to work and maintain work and do it stably,” she said.

Part of Lipscomb’s work at OSU-Cascades includes studying the resilience and school readiness of preschoolers and adults that supports their development. She is delighted to welcome participants to the program.

“Early childhood teachers are the gardeners of children’s resilience and learning,” Lipscomb said. “This new career development program is exciting because it opens the door for teachers to invest in their own development while building their skills for developmentally appropriate, trauma-informed and culturally appropriate teaching.”

The program pays full-time tuition for one year for students interested in working in the childcare field, offers part-time work in the childcare field to participating students, and provides a mentoring and career advice. It is open to OSU-Cascades and Central Oregon Community College students and area child care workers looking for additional training to advance their careers.

The program is supported by American Rescue Plan Act funding provided by Deschutes County. To learn more about the program, visit osucascades.edu/early-childhood or contact [email protected]

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