Child Development Specialist Youth Apprenticeship


  • Apprenticeships


In 2000, House Bill 706 allocated 25% of the Kentucky Tobacco Settlement Fund to support early childhood programs. Kentucky provides three apprenticeship Apprenticeships: An arrangement between a developing educator and an employer (e.g., a child care program) that allows the educator to participate in on-the-job professional learning and related coursework. Apprenticeship programs are often sponsored by government agencies and/or non-profit organizations. options in early childhood education: the Child Development Specialist Youth Apprenticeship, Early Childhood Instructor Apprenticeship, and Early Childhood Program Administrator/Director Apprenticeship. Apprentices in these programs receive a national journey worker credential, graduated pay raises, and bonuses while working in a high-quality early care and education program. Employers do not have to bear any training costs, as progressive wage increases, mentor stipends, and milestone achievements are all covered by the apprenticeship program. High school juniors and seniors are eligible for the Youth Apprenticeship. Students enrolled in a registered Apprenticeship Program can also earn 9-12 college credit hours in an Early Childhood Program through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The majority of Youth Apprentices graduate with a Child Development Assistant certification.


Kentucky Governor’s Office of Early Childhood. (n.d.). Growing the Early Childhood Workforce: Apprenticeships.

Kentucky Governor’s Office of Early Childhood. (n.d.). Growing the Early Childhood Workforce: Youth Apprenticeships.

Kentucky Governor’s Office of Early Childhood. (n.d.). Leadership.

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:

The early education workforce is the foundation upon which all daily work and any expansion and quality improvement efforts rest. Research suggests that states and cities should invest in the workforce across all early education setting types, focusing on enhancing educators’ professional learning, compensation, and workplace conditions.

Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:

  • Early educators play a critical role in supporting the well-being of young children and families across setting types.
  • Yet their pay, benefits, and other professional supports are often inadequate in light of the job demands and their cost of living.
Learn More about ELS@H Findings

Learn more about Kentucky

Context matters. Visit the Kentucky profile page to learn more about its demographics, political landscape, early education programs, early education workforce, and funding sources and streams.

Visit the Kentucky Profile Here
  • The state population is 4,512,310
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 64%
  • The rural percentage is 41.3%