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Grow Your Own Teacher Apprenticeship Program Launch

Pic of elementary school children in a classroom with teacher.

"Grow Your Own" Apprenticeship Program Launches

Press Release

July 31, 2023
Contact: Darian Atkins
318-345-9265 (O)
318-348-8991 (C)

Louisiana Delta Community College Launches New Grow Your Own Teacher Apprenticeship Program with Support of Congresswoman Julia Letlow 

Monroe, LA -  Louisiana Delta Community College (LDCC) launched the innovative Grow Your Own Teacher Apprenticeship Program, made possible by a Congressional Community Grant from Congresswoman Julia Letlow. This program addresses the critical shortage of educators in urban and rural school districts across the region. 

The Grow Your Own Teacher Apprenticeship Program, in collaboration with The University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM), offers a unique earn-while-you-learn model that benefits both aspiring teachers and the communities they will serve. Unlike traditional educator preparation programs, this model works directly with local school districts to recruit and pay the wages of the teacher apprentices, creating a true "grow your own" model.  

The Congressional Community Grant fully funds the Grow Your Own Teacher Apprenticeship Program for three years. The Teacher Apprentices undergo a rigorous vetting process, ensuring they meet specific criteria: a strong commitment to becoming a teacher, residency, and investment in the school district they will serve (as most teachers work within a 30-mile radius of their own school), and possessing the necessary dispositions to excel as educators. 

 The involvement of local school districts in the program is instrumental in bridging the gap between classroom instruction and practical teaching experience. By partnering with the program, school districts actively participate in recruitment and support the apprentices by providing valuable on-the-job mentoring. Additionally, school districts play a vital role in compensating the teacher apprentices, ensuring they receive wages while gaining hands-on experience in the classroom. 

The Congressional Grant covers the initial 60 hours of instruction and includes additional funds available to students when they transfer from Louisiana Delta Community College to the University of Louisiana Monroe.  The grant's instructional design is focused on providing wrap-around and tutoring services to further support students. Additionally, the program aims to facilitate convenience for students by offering all courses through a hybrid instructional model, reducing the need for them to travel to college campuses.

"This partnership is nurturing and cultivating our very own teachers right from the heart of the communities we serve at Louisiana Delta Community College. We know that to combat the critical teacher shortage, we must go find teacher candidates and recruit them with a creative teacher prep model that meets their needs. Our model is appealing because it keeps our students within their community, breaking down barriers and paving the way for their success and entry into the classroom.  If we want to end the teacher shortage, we have to act now, and we have to work together! That's exactly what our program is doing. Because we are working together, our teacher apprentices will go on to make a meaningful impact in students' lives," explains Ashley Ellis, Grow Your Own Teacher Apprenticeship Program director and the Pre-Educator Program director for Louisiana Delta Community College.  

The accelerated timeline of the program will allow teacher apprentices to earn a bachelor's degree in teaching and become certified elementary school teachers in three years versus the traditional four years.  This timeline, combined with the support and collaboration of Louisiana Delta Community College with district partners and ULM, enables teacher apprentices to complete their training and enter the classroom. This accelerated pathway addresses the urgency of the teacher shortage, placing highly qualified educators in the classrooms as soon as possible. 

The Grow Your Own Teacher Apprenticeship Program reflects Louisiana Delta Community College's dedication to promoting educational excellence and addressing the specific requirements of rural communities. Through close collaboration with Congresswoman Letlow, The University of Louisiana Monroe, and six school district partners (Caldwell, East Carroll, West Carroll, Lincoln, Monroe City, and Union School Districts), Louisiana Delta Community College is taking proactive measures to make a positive impact on education. This initiative represents an investment in our region's future and, most importantly, in our children—our most valuable resource. 

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