NTC Leads the Way to Finding Child Care Solutions for Bemidji Area

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Northwest Technical College’s Heather Sutherland, instructor of early childhood education, is on the core team for the Bemidji Rural Child Care Innovation Program (RCCIP).

The RCCIP, funded by MN Department of Human Services, is an initiative of First Children’s Finance to address the challenges of rural child care in Minnesota through the lens of rural economic development.

This program will spend the next 12 – 18 months working to find solutions to the shortage of child care in the Bemidji school district area. They will gather public input through surveys to give the team an accurate view of the struggles and barriers faced in Bemidji.

“I am super fired up about this project, it speaks to my passion on so many levels,” Sutherland said. “I am so happy to be a part of the team, not only as myself, but with the full support of NTC administration. It’s amazing!”

The goal of this program is not only to increase the supply of affordable and high quality child care, but to also increase community pride and support current child care provider by building respect and acceptance of early childhood educators and providers as professionals. The group hopes to see a 37% growth in licensed child care slots to fill the shortage in the Bemidji community.

Megan Zothman, chief human resources officer for NTC and Bemidji State University, is also on the core planning committee.

“I am looking forward to being part of the important child care solution for our community,” Zothman said.

NTC offers a number of programs for those interested in obtaining a certificate or associate’s degree in early child care and education.Courses establish a strong foundation in areas such as healthy child development and learning, working with children who have special needs or challenging behavior, observing and assessing children’s development, supporting infant and toddler learning in a variety of settings, and providing a developmentally appropriate environment for school-age children.

Certificate — Level I, Child Care & Education

This 20-credit certificate prepares graduates to provide family child care or advance to a Level II certificate or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. For more information about this credential, visit the Level I Child Care & Education Certificate page.

Certificate — Level II, Child Care & Education

This 27-credit certificate prepares graduates to provide family child care, work as an aide in a center-based child care program or advance to an AAS. For more information about this credential, go to the Level II Child Care & Education Certificate page.

AAS — Child Care & Education

This 60-credit AAS degree prepares graduates to become assistant teachers in a center-based setting such as a child care center, early childhood family education program or Head Start. With additional experience hours, graduates meet qualifications to work as center-based child care teachers, child care resource and referral agents or food program representatives. For more information about this credential, go to theAAS in Child Care & Education page.

AS — Young Child Education

This 60-credit Associate of Science (AS) degree prepares graduates to transfer to a four-year university for a non-teaching degree in early childhood or an education degree in early childhood, which is required for licensure to teach from birth through third grade. For more information about this credential, go to theAS in Young Child Educationpage.

About RCCIP

The Rural Child Care Innovation Program, funded by MN Department of Human Services, is an initiative of First Children’s Finance to address the challenges of rural child care in Minnesota through the lens of rural economic development. The RCCIP uses a community engagement process designed to develop right-sized solutions to increase the supply of high quality affordable child care in Minnesota’s rural communities.

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Northwest Technical College, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, has prepared students for fulfilling careers in high-demand fields for more than 50 years. The college’s accessible, affordable, hands-on programs also help the region’s employers meet their ever-growing need for a highly skilled workforce. NTC serves more than 1,000 students with an excellent education, an open-enrollment policy and affordable tuition. Students may pursue nearly 40 degree, diploma and certificate programs in six distinct career paths. Classes are offered on campus, online, or as a combination of both. NTC is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities. For more, visit ntcmn.edu


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