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Worked Up: Philly’s biggest-ever Early Childhood Education jobs convention is coming

Early childhood education

In response to a proposed $120 million bump in the Pennsylvania budget for Early Childhood Education (ECE) from Governor Tom Wolf, Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) and partners are hosting the largest career fair of its kind ever to hit the Philly region.

If the new funding becomes law, that means 1,400 new jobs could open up in the industry statewide, and up to 400 in Philadelphia. Local childcare centers are already gearing up to hire more teachers, assistant teachers, administrators and directors; the jobs could start as early as September. To that end, the non-profit PHMC is bringing its Early Childhood Education Workforce Transformation (ECEWTI) Career Convention to Centre Square East (on the Lower Mezzanine of 1500 Market Street) on Friday, July 31 from 12 - 4 p.m.

"This is a completely free event," enthuses PHMC program officer Lizette Egea-Hinton -- there will even be childcare on hand for job-seeking parents who need someone to watch the kids. The event will feature a mix of the region’s premier ECE service-providers -- some will even interview qualified candidates on the spot -- and activities from partnering organizations that allow the Convention to cast a broader net.

PHMC is teaming with the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children and the Montgomery Early Learning Centers for the convention; training organizations such as 1199c and some local universities will also be on hand. They’ll offer interview workshops, resume tips and what the ECE industry calls "career lattice therapy."

Not familiar with the term "career lattice"? Egea-Hinton explains that it’s a multi-layered metric for childcare workers that encompasses factors including your degree level, your training and how many years of experience you have. Those who want to enter or advance in the industry should start by understanding where they are in the ECE lattice, and what they need to do to obtain the jobs they want.

Egea-Hinton notes that filling jobs in the sector can be challenging because of a consistent gap in pay between what ECE professionals earn and what their counterparts in schooling for older kids make. Addressing that is one reason PHMC partners with the Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN) -- the organization is a Win-Win Challenge grantee.

"A part of our work through JOIN is to see how we can remedy this issue," she says. "We do need the staff, but our biggest barrier is pay. So what can we do to bridge that gap?"

Despite the challenges, this remains a growing field in the education sector, and Philly has to be ready to meet the needs of its youngest citizens (and their parents).

"We’ve never had [an event] like this before," enthuses Egea-Hinton. "We’re offering a lot of things and we plan on it being really large. We hope that it’s very successful, so we can have more in the future…it shows it’s a need."

The Convention will also boast refreshments, raffles and "swag bags." Any questions? E-mail [email protected]
The Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN) has partnered with Flying Kite to explore how good jobs are created and filled in Greater Philadelphia. For more on the Win-Win Challenge, click here.

Writer: Alaina Mabaso
Source: Lizette Egea-Hinton, Public Health Management Corporation
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