February 19, 2021

Reps. Castro, Cole, Spanberger, and Moolenaar Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Include Early Childhood Education in Work-Study Programs.

WASHINGTON — Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4), Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA-7), and Congressman John Moolenaar (MI-4) reintroduced The Head Start For Our Future Act. This bipartisan legislation amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to make jobs in early childhood education eligible as community service under the Federal Work-Study Program.

“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 Congressman 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. 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,” said Congressman Cole.

“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. 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,” said Congresswoman Spanberger.

“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. 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,” said Congressman Moolenaar.

Full bill text is available here.