Head Start Alumnus Sen. Warnock Introduces HEADWAY Act to Increase Access to Early Head Start Programs

Today, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) keynoted the National Head Start Association’s Fall Leadership Institute and, during his address, introduced the bipartisan HEADWAY Act (Head Start Education and Development Workforce Advancement and Yield Act).

The legislation, which is co-led by Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), is designed to address early child care workforce shortages by allowing Early Head Start classroom teachers to teach and earn their Child Development Associate (CDA) credential simultaneously.

“The HEADWAY Act is designed to empower Head Start to prioritize the professional development of our people and invest in their growth. By offering a career stepping stone, we can improve Early Head Start’s capacity to serve and ensure we remain competitive and adaptable in an ever-changing workforce market,” said NHSA’s Executive Director Yasmina Vinci. “Ultimately, it will pave the way to a brighter future where children and families in Early Head Start have the opportunity to flourish and the early childhood education profession to thrive. We applaud Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock—a proud Head Start alumnus— as well as Senator Mike Braun for their commitment to supporting Head Start and Early Head Start, and for their belief in the potential of our people to bring Head Start to new heights.”

Early Head Start is a program that helps kids up from birth to age three in low-income families prepare for school. Nearly 20% of staff positions are vacant nationwide, with the top reason being compensation. The bill will give program directors the flexibility they need to respond to thee employment trends while still maintaining the high standards and professionalization of the field.

In August, Senator Warnock returned to his hometown of Savannah, Georgia to tour Early Head Start classrooms at the Economic Opportunity Authority (EOA) for Savannah-Chatham County and hear from local early learning leaders about the workforce shortages impacting this critical early education program serving low-income families and their children.

Sen. Warnock is one of two Head Start alumni to ever serve in the Senate.

About NHSA

The National Head Start Association is committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for more than 840,000 children and families from systemically underserved populations, 250,000 staff, and 1,600 Head Start grant recipients. ••• Media Contact: media@nhsa.org

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