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Step Forward introduces unique “People as Teachers in Training” Program

Step Forward, Ohio’s designated anti-poverty agency for Cuyahoga County, is relaunching a new program to attract applicants for its Head Start program.

Adult holds a baby

Individuals enrolled with Step Forward’s People as Teachers in Training Program, otherwise known as PATT, will work 20 hours as Head Start education aides and receive 120 hours of on-demand, online instruction to obtain their Child Development Associate credential. In addition, participants will be provided weekly professional development opportunities tailored to increase their knowledge of early childhood education, Step Forward policies and procedures, and workplace professionalism. The goal is for participants to complete the credential process and move to full-time employment with Step Forward’s Head Start.


The PATT program will be provided at no cost to those who participate.


“At Step Forward, we believe in the power of growth and opportunity,” Dr. Thea Wilson, Step Forward’s Vice President of Children and Families, said. “With our innovative People as Teachers in Training program, we are not only shaping the future of early childhood education, but also empowering individuals to achieve their full potential. As we open doors to part-time positions, we also open pathways for personal and professional growth.”

A teacher assists a student

PATT was developed in response to the persistent shortage of qualified educators and the urgent need for at least 90 employees throughout Step Forward’s Head Start program. The unique initiative aims to decrease staff vacancies and empower individuals with the skills and support necessary to become effective educators.


“By cultivating talent through PATT, we aspire to fill vacant positions and expand our capacity to serve even more young children, making a lasting difference in their lives and fostering a stronger community,” Dr. Wilson said.

“In the 1990s, when the initiative was first introduced as the Parents as Teachers in Training program, its primary aim was to empower parents to become educators and mentors to their children,” Antoinette Hawthorne, Step Forward’s Early Childhood Education Service Manager and a PATT alum, explained. “This transformation, from a program primarily targeting parents to one that is open to all who wish to get involved, underscores Step Forward’s commitment to inclusivity and lifelong learning.”


The first PATT cohort is scheduled to begin in October.


Those interested in applying for Step Forward’s PATT program can learn more and apply by clicking here.


Step Forward Head Start is hiring!


The agency is offering a sign-on bonus of $1,000 for full time employees and $500 for part-time employees.


Positions include teachers, family service workers, nutrition aides and more. Step Forward Head Start is looking for education staff passionate about preparing young students for the future and helping them develop a love for learning early. Take a step toward a new fulfilling career today! Learn more and apply to open positions here.





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