Aspiring MECK Pre-K teachers will receive tuition, supplies and family care support through a pilot program made possible by the PNC Foundation with a $269,000 grant to the UNC Charlotte Cato College of Education
The initiative will help up to 50 teachers obtain their birth-to-kindergarten license from UNC Charlotte’s Cato College of Education. The accelerated program will help candidates with a bachelor’s degree earn a license to teach in MECK Pre-K, Mecklenburg County’s program for 4-year-olds. The program pays for a significant portion of tuition, books and fees plus expenses related to family care.
This two-year grant was awarded as part of PNC Grow Up Great®, a $500 million initiative that helps prepare children ages birth to 5, especially underserved children, for success in school and life. PNC is celebrating the 15th anniversary of this flagship philanthropic program that benefits 40 markets.
“PNC’s mission is to provide quality resources to young children, their families and educators, which aligns with both UNC Charlotte’s and the county’s goals of helping our youngest grow into resourceful, responsible citizens,” said Weston M. Andress, PNC regional president for Western Carolinas.
The accelerated program allows students to earn their N.C.-required license in as little as three semesters. At the end of the program, candidates agree to teach in MECK Pre-K for at least two years.
“Thanks to the PNC Foundation for this generous, forward-thinking grant,” said Ellen McIntyre, dean of the Cato College of Education. “This will help get newly trained early childhood teachers in classrooms as early as next year, exactly when we need them. We can't wait to welcome the candidates supported by this initiative.”
The county estimates it will need 275 early childhood education teachers to fulfill its goal of universal pre-K by 2024. County Manager Dena R. Diorio says the grant addresses critical areas of concern for the early childhood education workforce: enabling pre-K teachers to pay tuition and supplies, and manage family obligations.
“In Mecklenburg County, we are determined that all children should have equal access to high-quality public pre-K education, which helps ensure that our children will enter school ready to succeed, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or income,” said Diorio. “Our children’s earliest school experiences impact them for the rest of their lives, so we must do everything we can to give them a good start.”
The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. For more information, visit http://www.pncgrowupgreat.com.