New, Innovative Early Childhood Educator Registered Apprenticeship for Family Child Care Providers

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Education and Support Fund, SEIU 1199New England, the Rhode Island Department of Health and Human Services (DHS), and Building Futures launched a new, innovative early childhood educator registered apprenticeship program. The new apprenticeship program creates an accessible pathway to industry-recognized credentials for Family Child Care Providers while building the skills mastery in early childhood education vital to offering high-quality care to the children they serve.   

Family Child Care Providers are licensed, qualified child care providers and early educators that take children into their own homes and create a loving educational environment. Family Child Care Providers offer culturally and linguistically resonant care for Rhode Island families, a proven benefit in early childhood development. For this and many reasons, parents frequently choose Family Child Care Providers over a center-based environment.

However, early family child care providers face significant barriers in meeting in gaining the nationally recognized Childhood Development Associate certification, which help increase providers’ earnings and Bright Star rates.

“Our Family Child Care Provider members are predominantly women of color, first generation college students, immigrants, and oftentimes mothers themselves. Classes are often inaccessible for providers who work extended hours to meet parents’ needs, and providers can face additional language and technology barriers. Registered Apprenticeship meets these challenges,” said Kursten Holabird, Executive Director of the SEIU Education and Support Fund.

“I have worked as a Family Child Care Provider for eleven years, and I haven’t been in a classroom in a very long time. This program provides the necessary supports to be successful at achieving my Child Development Associate Credential while continuing to run my child care business,” said Mendrid Torres, an SEIU 1199NE member.

Registered Apprenticeship takes place in the work environment, based on program standards that establish a path to train employees in a new occupation. Family Child Care Providers are sole proprietors that through SEIU collectively bargain with DHS on reimbursement rates, making this a unique application of the registered apprenticeship model and the first of its kind in the country.

The new registered apprenticeship represents a partnership between four parties, the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS), which sets the quality standards of care, SEIU 1199 NE, which represents the bargaining unit of the Family Child Care Providers, the SEIU Education and Support Fund, which is sponsoring the registered apprenticeship and will play an integral role as an education provider, and Family Child Care Providers, an essential representative in the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee that oversees the registered apprenticeship program, ensuring the program meets the needs of providers seeking to advance their education, professional development and earnings opportunities

“Far too often, career advancement requires post-secondary education that precludes employment; Registered Apprenticeship makes both accessible at once,” said Andrew Cortés, Executive Director of Building Futures, which helped develop this program as part of its Apprenticeship RI initiative. “This is an exciting example of how the apprenticeship model can be adapted to meet the specific needs of 1199NE family childcare providers seeking to hone their craft of providing quality education to our children as sole-proprietors and help achieve DHS and union goals, as all care deeply about the welfare of young children.” continued Cortés.

 “The child care industry is a critical component of our State’s infrastructure to rebuild Rhode Island’s economy,” said DHS Director Courtney E. Hawkins. “DHS is proud to partner with SEIU 1199/ESF to support one of many workforce development pathways our Office of Child Care is developing to support family child care providers advance the quality of their programs. The Department is committed to supporting programs in delivering high quality care to our youngest Rhode Island learners.”

Elements of the eighteen-month registered apprenticeship program include:

  • Structured On-The-Job Learning: under the supervision of coaches. Peer mentors provide additional support to ensure that the apprentices gain mastery of the competencies described in the apprenticeship standards. The competencies are aligned with the RI Department of Education Workforce Knowledge and Competencies for early childhood educators
  • Related Instruction: through the Community College of Rhode Island’s Early Childhood Education Program, providers will work through a higher education curriculum focused on the academic, social, and cognitive skills that develop in children from birth onwards. Providers will also complete health and safety training, business administration, anti-racism in early childhood education, business development, and digital literacy training through the SEIU Education and Support Fund.
  • Wage progression: as apprentices meet program milestones they will earn wage increases. Upon completion of the program participants will earn a wage consistent with the collective bargaining agreement between the union, SEIU 1199NE, and Rhode Island Department of Health Services (RI DHS).
  • Industry recognized credentials: upon completion, apprentices will acquire the national credential, Child Development Associate, the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education. Coursework needed to attain this credential will be completed at CCRI.

The first cohort of apprentices will begin immediately with 20 licensed Family Child Care Providers.


This innovative early childhood educator apprenticeship program is now formally registered with the State Apprenticeship Agency, the RI Department of Labor and Training (DLT) and was developed through its intermediary, Building Futures – the home of the Apprenticeship RI initiative.

Building Futures develops Registered Apprenticeship programs in partnership with DLT across all of Rhode Island’s high growth occupations and sectors and is funded by US DOL/ETA American Apprenticeship Initiative.

The SEIU Education and Support Fund (ESF) is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization founded for the purpose of developing and managing worker-centered education, training and professional development programs.

This work was supported by the Health Care Advancement Program (H-CAP) a leading national labor/management organization working to break down structural barriers to advancement and raise standards for Black and brown workers and women within the healthcare industry.

For more information contact: Kursten Holabird,

Continue Reading

New Apprentice Orientation

Are you a new apprentice launching a new career? The New Apprentice Orientation is your guidebook to understanding how apprenticeship works and gives you some helpful information about Rhode Island and federal laws governing apprenticeship.

You can watch and download the presentation and handouts here.

The information in this presentation is applicable to any new apprentice in any industry in Rhode Island- from healthcare, to IT, green industry, construction, and more.

Our goal for orientation is that by the end, you understand:

  • How Registered Apprenticeship works in any industry
  • What Registered Apprenticeship is
  • What the benefits of apprenticeship are

You’ll learn important information about your rights as an apprentice and some tips for protecting those rights. And finally, you can access information on how to get help if you need it. Watch & download the presentation here!

Continue Reading

Grants Available For Talent Development

Download the RFA and Application Package.

As part of its Apprenticeship RI initiative, Building Futures requests applicants that seek to develop Registered Apprenticeship (RA) programs in business service occupations (e.g. information technology, finance/insurance, and professional services), with priority given for information technology occupations. All proposals must support workforce development for employers based in Rhode Island or with significant employees in Rhode Island.  

A total of $100,000 is available through this RFA, with a minimum of four 4 grants anticipated.

No prior experience with Registered Apprenticeship is necessary.

Successful applicants will demonstrate that an ‘earn while you learn’ model is appropriate and beneficial for their workforce needs. Building Futures staff are available to provide technical assistance to all applicants in developing their registered apprenticeship program.


Registered Apprenticeship: A proven workforce development strategy

  • Craft talent development to your company’s needs
  • Improve productivity
  • Decrease turnover and improve retention
  • Broaden your ability to recruit top talent

  97% of employers who use Registered Apprenticeship recommend the strategy to their colleagues.


Who can apply?

  • Any employer, group of employers, or industry association in business service occupations (e.g. information technology, finance/insurance, and professional services occupations), with a preference for employers with IT careers
  • Must be Rhode Island based or have a Rhode Island workforce

Request for Applications open October 1 – December 1, 2020

All applications must be received by close of business on Tuesday, December 1st.

For application technical assistance or questions contact:

Susanna Williams,, (718) 772-1757

Continue Reading

Advancing Apprenticeship

The Governor’s Workforce Board (GWB) presented a report on the state expansion of non-trade Registered Apprenticeship programs in Rhode Island for the Rhode Island Senate. The report describes remarkable accomplishments and lays out five opportunities to broaden the impact of apprenticeship for workers and employers.

View the Full Report

The GWB, the Department of Labor and Training, and Building Futures’ Apprenticeship RI initiative have coordinated our efforts to expand Registered Apprenticeship opportunities statewide.  

Apprenticeship RI – Strategic partnership of RIDLT and Building Futures charged with expanding Registered Apprenticeship as a resource for talent development and retention across multiple industries.

  • 1080 new apprentices employed at 70 private companies and non-profit organizations
  • 36 distinct new occupations now have a Registered Apprenticeship
  • Technical assistance to private employers to develop and register new programs in industries like healthcare, IT, marine trades, manufacturing, and many others
  • The largest single end-user of Registered Apprentice is now a healthcare employer
  • Expanded use of Apprenticeship has created opportunities that did not exist four years ago, both for individuals to advance their careers and for employees to train and retain quality employees

From the Report:

“Importantly, a supportive ecosystem is being established to bring this work to the next level. Apprenticeship Rhode Island, a strategic initiative of the RI Department of Labor & Training (RIDLT) and Building Futures, continues to engage businesses and provide employers with essential technical assistance to help them maximize apprenticeship as a critical resource for talent development and retention.”

The GWB has put incentive programs to work at Rhode Island companies:    

  • GWB Non-Trade Apprenticeship Development Program – provides up to $25,000 to cover costs of curriculum development, supplies and other expenses associated with developing Registered Apprenticeship programs.
    • 12 new Apprenticeship programs designed and registered in the last four years in new occupations
  • GWB Non-Trade Apprenticeship Incentive – $1,000 per registered non-trade apprentice for the employer after the apprentice has completed their probationary period.
    • 130 incentives paid to 44 different employers

GWB Notes Further Opportunities to Expand Apprenticeship:

Continue to develop a youth apprenticeship model
Apprenticeship RI is a partner in the Prepare RI Youth Apprenticeship which includes work-based learning experiences for high school students in horticulture, medical, and manufacturing occupations.

Expand and enhance pre-apprenticeship opportunities

Recommendation 1 Commit new Apprenticeship development resources

Improve integration of Registered Apprenticeship with CCRI and other higher education institutions

Improve Coordination with One-Stop Career Centers (netWORKri)

The GWB recommendations provide a pathway to strengthen and expand on our shared success to expand the use of Registered Apprenticeship for Rhode Islanders and RI employers.

Read the Full Report

Continue Reading

COVID-19 Resource Links

We would like to direct Rhode Island businesses to CommerceRI’s comprehensive small business resource page.

During the coronavirus outbreak, Building Futures | Apprenticeship RI is operating, but our offices are not open for visitors. Most staff are working from home, but we are still here to help our partners. Email staff directly or call the office at 401-919-5919 to leave a message for a specific staff person. Staff are all checking messages.

Continue Reading

Secrets to success


Partner4Work in Pennsylvania researched a series of case studies on apprenticeship expansion and gave a nice shout-out to Apprenticeship RI.  They see Apprenticeship RI’s relentless focus on employers as a key success factor.  All of the new Rhode Island apprenticeship programs are employer-driven, instigated by business needs, and designed around a company’s specific workforce challenges. 

Start with Incumbent Workers

Most of the employers Apprenticeship RI has worked with were interested in incumbent worker-training first.  Focusing on existing employees de-risked the approach for employers and helped them get onboard.  Once employers adopted apprenticeship and got to know the structured training approach, more of them have started to use Registered Apprenticeship as a training and recruitment tool for new hires.

Union Support and Collaboration

While the majority of Apprenticeship RI’s programs are non-union, those programs where a union has taken a leadership role and collaborated on program design are a bit stronger. 

Cultivating Champions

Apprenticeship creates its own champions because it works.  Apprenticeship RI has cultivated employer champions in all the industries it serves.  These champions provide valuable word-of-mouth promotion for apprenticeship.  Moreover, Apprenticeship works for workers.  Like a path in the woods, the apprenticeship model shows the way for employees to grow their value to their employer and their career.

See the Case Study

Continue Reading

Moving Up: Brown Medicine’s LPNs

The most import lesson in workforce development: Listen to your employees.

That’s exactly what Brown Medicine did, and through a partnership with Apprenticeship Rhode Island developed a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Apprenticeship program; providing an opportunity for growth within the company that wasn’t available before.

“The number one motivator for us in developing this program with Apprenticeship RI was the feedback from our annual employee survey, where the medical assistants and secretaries said they didn’t feel they had a pathway for growth”, says Tammy Lederer, Chief Human Resources Officer. Apprenticeship RI worked with Tammy and members of the medical staff to develop a Registered Apprenticeship; a learn and earn model which incorporates industry standards, education and on-the-job training into a program with built-in wage increases as apprentices gain new skills.

Brown Medicine’s 2nd cohort of apprentices began in 2018 with three Medical Assistants; who took on the program’s challenging schedule of enrolling in the Practical Nurse program at the Community College of Rhode Island, while working full-time within their ambulatory practice site. No easy task when you consider that each of these women have families and responsibilities in addition to their work. But through it all they’ve gained valuable skills. Jennifer Barbosa states that she feels “more confident talking to patients” while Karissa Wellhausen shared that the “hands-on part was good for me, because it’s a challenge versus what I did as a Medical Assistant and I’m interested in the hands on skills and being able to do that stuff like feeding tubes and IV’s.”

While the work and educational requirements of the Apprenticeship were formidable, each of these women are grateful to Brown Medicine. “If it wasn’t for Brown Medicine initiating this and getting this started, I still feel like I would be saying “Oh maybe next year.  I feel like that was the biggest push for me,” says Jennifer. “If they didn’t do this I probably would still be contemplating how I could go back to school and finish.”

Brown Medicine’s Licensed Practical Nurse Apprenticeship was one of four nursing apprenticeship programs featured in a recent article by New America for its application and innovation. “We wanted to create a pathway for them to grow professionally, says Lederer, and this provided that opportunity”.  For these women, the apprenticeship provided a boost in reaching their career goals. “It has been challenging and we’ve passed it;” says Erin Tetreault, “we can go on, we can be nurses now.”

Continue Reading

Tech companies turn to apprenticeships

Norberg said Vertikal6’s one-year, paid, full-time apprenticeships have become the key to recruiting and developing employees. “It’s not just about training people,” he said. “It’s about finding the right person with the ability to fit into our [company] culture.”

Read more in PBN.

Continue Reading

The Providence Center Case Manager Apprenticeship Program sees Immediate Results

The Providence Center (TPC) recently rolled out its Case Manager Career Ladder, a tiered advancement framework, using the Registered Apprenticeship model.   The program was offered to the entire Case Management staff as a way to increase their skills, obtain certification and further their careers.  Almost all of the staff opted to participate and 90 new Apprentices began this summer.

The Apprenticeship pairs structured on-the-job learning with classroom learning and includes a salary increase upon completion of each of the three levels.   Vickie Walters, Care New England’s Director of Workforce Development, worked to develop this program for over a year with input from current TPC case managers. “Case managers are the unsung heroes of behavioral health, and we wanted to provide them with something tangible to understand how they can meet expectations and be competent in their role,” said Walters.

Rhode Island College (RIC) plays a key role in this partnership, as the primary source for classroom learning at each level.  During Level 1 of the program, RIC delivers an on-site 60-hour training program towards Community Support Professional (CSP) certification.   “Previously, the certification training was offered through one organization with limited capacity.  “It was challenging for us to reach our mandated staff certification outcomes.” Says Jillian Pastina, Director Residential Services, Nursing & Workforce Development.  “Rhode Island College has been an essential partner in customizing their training to meet our needs, including making the effort to be recognized  through the State as a CSP training institution.  Now, we are able to offer much more predictable and flexible options for our staff.”  Rhode Island College has also customized trainings to provide specialized training, as well as leadership training, to encourage the next generation of mentors and supervisors.

Measurable success in this program was shown through ROI data.  TPC had been experiencing an 8% attrition rate.  In the first three months of the Apprenticeship program the rate dropped to 2%.  “We never imagined such dramatic results.”  said Walters.  “The Apprentice program has positively impacted our bottom line and improved patient care.”

Continue Reading

Rhode Island promotes EEO in Apprenticeship with free anti-harassment training

Rhode Island is hoping to nudge Apprenticeship Sponsors to provide anti-harassment training to workers by offering training sessions on January 17th and February 14.  The sessions will be free and available for registration on a first come first serve basis.

Many Apprenticeship Sponsors in our state are small employers, and for small employers this will be the easiest way to offer the interactive, participatory training required by federal law.

Sign Up!

Continue Reading