The Pilot Early Childhood & Special Education Apprenticeship Program


  • Apprenticeships

San Francisco, California

Established in 2021, the Pilot Early Childhood & Special Education 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. Program in San Francisco is a formal partnership between the City College of San Francisco Child Development and Family Studies Department and San Francisco Unified School District. Apprentices begin as an Early Childhood Teaching Assistant, a Transitional Kindergarten Teaching Assistant or a Special Education Paraprofessional working in pre-K and kindergarten classrooms. All programs include training in special education. The apprenticeship has two tracks that each last up to 34 months, and both lead to an Early Childhood Teaching Permit. The program provides 2,000 hours of on-the-job training, and participants can take courses at City College of San Francisco. The program receives $800,000 in funding from the Strong Workforce Program.


City College of San Francisco. (n.d.). Early Childhood & Special Education Apprenticeship.

City College of San Francisco. (n.d.). Strong Workforce Program Strategic Plan 2020-2023

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 San Francisco

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  • The City Population is 815,201
  • Number of children under age 5: 4.40%
  • The median family income among households with children $187,400