Apprenticeships in Head Start

The National Head Start Association (NHSA) is endeavoring to increase awareness and understanding of how apprenticeship models work in early childhood organizations.

In registered apprenticeships across multiple disciplines, 65% of apprentices complete their program, and 92% of those completers stay in the profession.

Registered apprenticeships strengthen individual organizations and the early childhood profession as a whole. All registered apprenticeships adhere to a standard of excellence, which serves to increase the respect for and professionalism of this essential workforce. 

Visit the links below to learn more about how apprenticeship models work, and how early childhood programs are successfully implementing this model.



Broader, Deeper, Fairer: Five Strategies To Radically Expand the Talent Pool in Early Education

  • This paper reflects the unique opportunity we have to build on society’s acknowledgment of the importance of early childhood education. 

Head Start and Early Head Start Apprenticeship Kick-Start Guide

  • This paper identifies the critical components in early childhood education apprenticeships. These components were standard in successful models and missing from short-lived programs.

Exploring Head Start Apprenticeships

  • This presentation is designed to ignite discussions in your community about early childhood apprenticeship models.


From Office Of Early Childhood Development

Early Childhood Education Apprenticeships: The Why, What, and How

Early Childhood Career Pathways Strategies: Apprenticeships

  • The Office of Head Start, the Office of Early Childhood Development and the Office for the Administration for Children and Families have been very supportive of developing apprenticeship models. Programs are encouraged to learn more about them through webinars and other resources.



Apprenticeship Work Circle

The Apprenticeship Work Circle was established in 2021, as part of a larger effort to explore innovative breakthrough strategies that could create more accessible, affordable, and equitable recruitment and retention models.

Members of the Apprenticeship Work Circle represent an interdisciplinary collaboration among early learning leaders, philanthropy, government, higher education, and policy makers to move these strategies forward.

Under the leadership of Pamm Shaw, the vice president of Strategic Funding and Partnerships at the YMCA of East Bay, the circle developed a series of recommendations for scalable early childhood apprenticeship models. The circle also collaborated with the Office of Early Childhood Development to foster communication between federal departments (Labor, Education, and Human Services). In 2022, they developed the Apprenticeship Kick Start Guide for early childhood programs looking to develop and implement an apprenticeship model. 

Interested in joining? Contact the Work Circle Coordinator, Rachel Hutchison, at


  • Apprenticeships in ECE Webinar Recording – NHSA
  • The Role of the Success Coordinator
  • Local, State, and National Models
  • Mentorship Models
  • Higher Education and Apprenticeships

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