ATLANTA—Georgia State University faculty members Tonia Durden and Stacey French-Lee have received a two-year, $800,000 grant from the Early Educator Investment Collaborative (EEIC) to expand and diversify Georgia’s early childhood education workforce.
Their grant, entitled “Project SEED: Increasing the Diversity, Quality and Quantity of Our ECE Workforce,” will provide pathways for culturally and linguistically diverse students to earn a four-year degree in birth through five education.
Durden and French-Lee will work with several partner schools and organizations on this project, including Atlanta Public Schools, the Black Child Development Institute-Atlanta, Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the Technical College System of Georgia, United Way of Greater Atlanta and the YMCA of Metro Atlanta.
Project SEED aims to remove any barriers that would prevent students from diverse backgrounds from applying and successfully completing a degree in birth through five education and prepare a more diverse set of early childhood educators who will create equitable learning environments for Georgia’s youngest children.
Durden and French-Lee hope this project will not only be beneficial for students and teachers in Georgia, but also provide a model for other states to adopt.
“This grant provides an important opportunity for Georgia State University and our partners to professionalize birth through five early-care and education through formal teacher preparation and professional development,” French-Lee said. “Professionalization of the field positively impacts the quality of early learning experiences for children and families, and it strengthens our advocacy efforts for better wages for birth through five teachers.”
To learn more about Project SEED, visit https://education.gsu.edu/ecee/academicsecee/support-for-project-seed-scholars.