Press Release

Gillibrand, Collins Announce Bipartisan Legislation To Expand Federal Work-Study Program To Include Jobs In Early Childhood Education

Sep 29, 2023

Three Years After The Start Of The Pandemic, Child Care Workforce Continues To Operate Below Pre-Pandemic Levels;

Bill Would Develop A New Generation Of Teachers and Help Alleviate Teacher Shortage 

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the bipartisan Head Start for Our Future Act, legislation that would allow college students eligible for the federal work-study program to work for Head Start, Early Head Start, or other early childhood education programs. The bill would help alleviate ongoing staffing shortages in the early childhood education workforce and help create a pipeline of talent into the field by providing interested college students with paid opportunities to engage in child care work. 

Programs like Head Start help kids from low-income backgrounds succeed at school and beyond,” said Senator Gillibrand. “They are critical to the health of our families and our communities. But too often, these programs struggle to attract and retain staff. My Head Start for Our Future Act would help build a robust early childhood education workforce by helping college students eligible for work-study gain valuable paid experience in this field while they finish their degrees. I look forward to working across the aisle to get this important bill passed.” 

“By further integrating college students into Head Start and Early Head Start programs, we not only help create opportunities for those students but also provide a stronger foundation for the early development and education of future generations,” said Senator Collins. “This bill will empower students to make meaningful contributions in their communities while better ensuring that more children receive a quality introduction to the world of learning.

Head Start and Early Head Start provide comprehensive child development programs and support services for low-income children, including early education, health screenings, social and emotional health services, nutrition services, and services for children with disabilities. 

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Tim Kaine (D-VA).

The bill is endorsed by the National Head Start Association, Children’s Aid New York City, and the Early Care & Learning Council.