DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Alabama’s first apprenticeship program for early childhood educators has been established.

Wallace Community College, Troy University, and the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship signed the paperwork to establish the apprenticeship program on Wednesday, as well, the first two early childhood education apprentices signed their paperwork.

This program will increase the care in the early childhood settings, create opportunities for future teachers, and create a bridge between community college and a university.

“Universities we are looking to find ways to help students get over whatever barrier there may be to them enrolling in college,” Troy University Dean of the College of Education Dr. Kerry Palmer said. “The opportunity for us to have this apprenticeship program will help them get to that degree. Gives them hope that they can complete it and helps get teachers into the classroom.”

Apprentices will be able to stack the following credentials: a child development associate certification, an associate’s degree, and a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.