In my ten plus years at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), I have never felt so rewarded and excited about what our community is capable of and where STCC is headed as an institution.  Despite difficult times, hardships, and uncertainty, I find myself in a role that is directly involved in paving the way for the future of the institution and the community as a whole.  

As the Academic Counselor and Early Childhood Education Student Liaison under the Career Pathways Grant as well as serving as an Adjunct Professor within the program, I am extremely fortunate to be a part of connecting the diverse community of early childhood educators (including those new to the field) with amazing educational opportunities. These opportunities propel students into higher level teacher certifications and onto larger educational goals.

Through this grant initiative, STCC is building on its mission to support students and transform lives and tear down barriers creating pathways and opportunities for students. STCC continues to make strides in embracing its designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution. One such way is by offering the Child Development Associate Plus Certificate Program completely taught in Spanish.  

The Early Childhood Education community is a diverse group of educators.  In particular, in our area  there is a large Spanish speaking community of individuals working in the field in center-based care as well as family child care settings.  Offering these individuals the opportunity to take college level courses in their native language and receive a certificate of completion is a game changer for our community, and we are just getting started!

This certificate is a benchmark on the way to an associate degree in early childhood education.  Funded by the Career Pathways Grant through the Department of Early Education and Care, students accepted into the program earn up to 23 credits for free.

These credits stack into their associate degree as well as fall under the MassTransfer Pathway affording them transferable credits to any Massachusetts public college or university.  Not only does the program afford students the opportunity to earn a certificate of completion from the college, but it also funds and supports the educators in the acquisition of the Child Development Associate which is a nationally recognized credential awarded through the Council of Professional Recognition.

Additionally, the students are supported holistically in all aspects from the first contact made with the college through the college processes and their academic program to ensure their success. Supports include but are not limited to; tutoring, technology access, holistic advising, job placement, and career development and exploration. For more information about the Child Development Associate Plus Certificate Program contact Jennifer Wallace-Johnson at (413) 755-4832 or email me at

Jennifer Wallace-Johnson talks about the CDA grant on ‘STCC Around’