governorec building bright futures

BUILDING BRIGHT FUTURES is a pre-apprentice-to-apprenticeship program in early childhood education that provides a supportive pathway for students to earn a degree, while gaining valuable hands-on experience through work-based learning opportunities. NCBCE is working with school districts, community colleges, child care providers, and other partners to develop and scale pilot pre-apprenticeship programs across the state.

Pathway to Success

Interested in a pre-apprenticeship program? The foundation of an early childhood pre-apprenticeship is the Early Childhood Education class and work-based learning hours, which allow the pre-apprentice to progress toward further education and paid hours at the apprenticeship level.

To start as a pre-apprentice in early childhood education, a participant needs to be signed up for, enrolled in, or have completed FE11: Early Childhood Education (high school class) OR EDU 119: Intro to Early Childhood Education (community college).


Pre-apprenticeship includes required coursework, health and safety training, and work-based learning hours. Once pre-apprenticeship is complete, participants will have earned:

  • Academic and pre-apprenticeship course credit
  • Work-based learning hours
  • NC Early Childhood Credential, which is required to be a lead teacher
  • Scholarship options for community college

Participants can then move on to a paid apprenticeship where they receive:

  • Paid on-site training based on a progressive pay scale
  • Related coursework that translates to an associate’s degree
  • College credit that can be used toward a 4-year bachelor’s degree

Supports for Success

Participants can receive financial support for coursework and trainings, professional development, and access to a network of industry professionals and enrichment opportunities to advance their knowledge in the field.

Find out how you can benefit from participating in this program:


  • Stipends for performance, completion, and transportation
  • High school credit, college credit, and industry-recognized credentials
  • Work-based learning experience in a child care center, with opportunities for paid hours
  • Free enrichment activities, such as guest speakers, field trips, and conferences
  • Personalized mentorship from experienced professionals in the Early Childhood field
  • Communication with peers as part of a cohort
  • Direct pathway to further education after high school with an Associate’s Degree at no cost


  • Mentorship from professionals and free enrichment activities for students above and beyond the basic curriculum, during the summer and school year
  • A supportive pathway for students to further education and a career
  • Communication of shared experiences and resources with peers as part of a cohort
  • Financial support for:
    • Materials and supplies
    • Transportation costs
    • Professional development

Child Care Providers

  • High-quality, trained, and dedicated workers in your center, with potential to earn higher star ratings for your center
  • Salary match of 50% of wages for apprentices
  • Communication of shared experiences with peers as part of a cohort
  • Financial support for:
    • Materials and supplies
    • Transportation costs
    • Child care
    • Professional development

See it in Action!

See students in McDowell County as they sign-on and work in their early childhood pre-apprenticeship program. There is nothing like taking what you learn in the classroom, and making it come alive by working directly with children in a child care center!

Get Started

For more information about how Building Bright Futures can support you, please contact:

Morgan Ford
Program Director


Megan Johnson
Program Manager

Through apprenticeships in early childhood education, North Carolina is building a bright future
for our children, our educators and caregivers, and our workforce!