Missy Okeson, childcare program officer for Northwest Minnesota Foundation and member of the Advance TRF Childcare Collaborative, recently had the opportunity to interview Brittany Babcock, a workforce advisor for Minnesota’s new “Empower to Educate” program. The following is excerpted from their conversation.
Okeson: Brittany, welcome to this episode of Profiles in Childcare.
Babcock: Thanks for having me!
Okeson: Can you tell us about your background in childcare?
Babcock: I have worked in childcare centers and run my own family childcare. Now I’m using all those experiences and resources to help support other educators across the field.
Okeson: So, what is the Empower to Educate program?
Early Childhood Career Support
Babcock: Empower to Educate was started to help sustain and grow the early childhood field. The program has workforce advisors across the state that support individuals along their career journey, wherever they want to go. This program differs from other ones out there in the way that we support individuals. It’s not just a program—it’s really focused on the individual. It’s for people working in centers as well as family childcare providers.
Serving People Who are New or Already Working in Early Childhood Careers
Okeson: Sounds like a great opportunity. What is your role within this framework?
Babcock: So, I’m one of the workforce advisors. Participants meet with me throughout the program with their advising sessions and we talk about their career, where they’re at, and where they want to go. We work on setting goals. I also connect them with resources and give them support along their Journey.
Okeson: Specifically, how can you help new providers?
Babcock: I help new providers by connecting them with resources, supporting them, and talking through any questions they might have. It can be kind of confusing. Whether they’re in family childcare or working in a center, I am able to help them figure out where they want to go and what should be done.
Okeson: Is this also a program for early educators that have been doing this for a while? How can you help them?
Babcock: I have quite a few that have been doing it for either a year or two and I have some that have been doing it for like twenty years. There are always new things in early childhood, whether it’s resources, trainings out there, or just questions they have. I can connect them to those resources, or just talk through questions or anything like that.
Okeson: What portion of Northwest Minnesota do you cover?
Babcock: I cover all of the Northwest so it’s twenty-one counties in total. It’s from Moorhead up to the Canadian border, including Lake of the Woods and Beltrami.
Okeson: That’s a big territory. How can providers reach you?
Babcock: They can email me at Brittanyb@caplp.org. They can also fill out an interest form by visiting the Child Care aware website and searching for the “Empower to Educate” program.
Okeson: Thanks so much, Brittany, for sharing this resource opportunity with us. That’s “Profiles in Childcare” brought to you by the Advance TRF Childcare Collaborative. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, @advancetrfchildcare and on YouTube, @AdvanceThiefRiver.
More About Profiles in Childcare
“Profiles in Childcare” is a series of stories, highlighting the people who are working in, and for, childcare in our region.
These stories are being collected and published by Advance TRF Childcare Collaborative.
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