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The YMCA EEAP was established in 2015 to meet the need for high-quality teachers in the communities we serve. By creating an early childhood career pipeline – providing education, on-the-job training, support and job placement, the YMCA has trained over 500 community members to become teachers, many of whom are parents in our early childhood programs.


Apprentice programs encompass all components of high-quality professional preparation, establishing a career pathway – not just a job. By focusing on both entry level and the current workforce, apprentice programs level the playing field in high poverty communities by providing access to education, training and jobs while increasing the capacity and degree attainment of skilled workers.

Employer/Job Skills

Work in an early learning center under a mentor teacher with coaching and support, with salary increases upon successful completion.

Community or 4-year College/University

Attend classes online, on campus, or at a local early learning center with tutoring, fees and books provided, computers and other supports.

  • 12 units in ECE with an Associate Teacher Permit
  • AA Degree in ECE/related field and a Teacher permit
  • BA degree in ECE/related field and Master Teacher/Site Supervisor permit
Cohort Learning Community
Small group classes, peer support & encouragement, personal growth, streamlined enrollment
Diverse and Inclusive
Equity-based accesible to participants, staff and instructors
Two-Generation Approach
Whole family emphasis, benefits for participanting parents & children
Strong community Partnerships
Collective capacity building with employers, colleges/universities and funders
Individualized Support
On-the-job training and learning, degree/teaching permit achievement, stipends or wages, child care, mental health, transportation, resume and interview prep
Tailored Approach
Community-based, mentoring/coaching, success coordination, embedded tutoring, service navigation, academic counseling and coaching
The YMCA program has offered me all the extended support needed to pursue my goal of being a great educator. With the courses offered, I had the opportunity to uncover things about myself as a parent and as a person, which have helped me for the better. I am excited to learn more and eventually earn my bachelor’s degree in early childhood education
Erica D. joined the EEAP in the fall of 2020 as a Head Start parent and First 5 participant. Erica is a full-time employee at the YMCA of The East Bay and is working on her AA degree. Learn more about their success in the program

Telling It Like It is

Dorian B. shares her experience in the apprenticeship at the YMCA. She addresses the ripple effect of access to higher education and professional development.

Choose the program that’s right for you

Tier One: Associate Teacher

Apprentices complete 12 Early Childhood Education units and 50 days of on-the-job training to obtain an Associate Teacher Permit.

Goals & Opportunities:

  • First 12 units of ECE/CHDEV (includes 3 core areas: CGD, CFC, CUR)
  • 50 days of mentored on-the-job training
  • Associate Teacher Permit
  • Soft Skills Trainings
  • CPR certification
  • Introduction to Head Start program compliance
  • Stipend for successful completion of first 12 units
  • Employment with YMCA Early Childhood Impact
Learn More

Tier Two: Teacher / AA-T degree

YMCA employees – Apprentices earn additional Early Childhood Education and General Education units to count towards a Teacher or Master Teacher permit and Associate Degree.

Tier Three: Site Supervisor / BA degree

YMCA employees – Apprentices join a 4-year university and complete additional courses to meet the requirements of a BA degree in Early Childhood, Human Development or related field, and site supervisor or program director child development permit.

The YMCA Early Educator Apprentice Program is sponsored by ECEPTS.


Click the “Apply Now” button below to submit your application. After your application is received, a program staff member will contact you about next steps. We encourage applicants to prepare by collecting the following information/documents:

  • Immunization record, including COVID-19 vaccination
  • Unofficial transcript(s) for college coursework
  • Government issued identification (Driver’s License, Passport, etc.)
  • CalWorks benefits letter or case number


Join us to learn more about the Early Educator Apprentice Program, meet the team, and ask questions.

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