HENRICO, V.A. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger reintroduced bipartisan legislation to allow Head Start programs to receive Federal Work-Study dollars and to give college students additional opportunities to gain experience in the field of early childhood education.
Currently, Work Study recipients are unable to use their designation to work in Head Start centers. Spanberger’s legislation, the Head Start For Our Future Act, would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to make jobs in early childhood education — including Head Start positions — eligible as community service under the Federal Work-Study program. Spanberger led the reintroduction of the bipartisan legislation alongside U.S. Representatives Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20), Tom Cole (R-OK-04), and John Moolenaar (R-MI-04).
“Thousands of Virginia students use the Work-Study program to earn extra income and help pay for college. Although many of these students are preparing for careers in early childhood education, they’re currently unable to use Work-Study dollars to help out in Head Start centers,” said Spanberger. “By allowing Head Start programs to qualify for Federal Work-Study funding, our bill would give college students the opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on experience in early childhood education. I’m proud to stand alongside my colleagues as we support those pursuing education careers – and I’m proud to support Head Start, which has a demonstrated record of improving outcomes for children and families across our communities.”
“The Head Start For Our Future Act will strengthen education for young children during their most important formative and developmental years, while also improving the pipeline for future teachers by empowering university students to gain real, paid, experience as early childhood education teachers in the real world. The Federal Work-Study Program is a tool we can leverage to strengthen the infrastructure of opportunity, both for our teachers and our children,” said Castro.
“It is critically important that both children and our talented future teachers are provided opportunity for success. I am proud to join this legislation that will expand the Federal Work-Study Program to include child development and early learning jobs that do not qualify for community service. Indeed, studies have shown that the earliest years of education are the most critical for learning and setting children up for future success,” said Cole. This bill will rightly encourage college students with a passion for teaching the youngest generation and provides greater opportunity for valuable career growth in the field. But most importantly, this bill brightens the future for our kids.”
“Expanding the federal work-study program will help students who are working to put themselves through college and give them dedicated experience in providing early childhood education,” said Moolenaar. “This incentive to work in early childhood education will help address our nation’s high cost of childcare and support the development of pre-K students who benefit from more early learning opportunities.”
Since arriving in the U.S. House, Spanberger has fought to strengthen support for Head Start programs in Central Virginia and across the country. Last year, Spanberger received the “2020 Head Start Pledge Award” from the National Head Start Association for demonstrating a commitment to fulfilling the Head Start pledge to serve children and families in Central Virginia.
Click here to read the full bill text.