Grant to help train Head Start staff

Funds allow staff to become certified in child development

Posted: Monday, August 06, 2001

The Tlingit-Haida Central Council has been awarded a grant to provide training for 40 Head Start employees in Southeast Alaska, said the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The $72,259 grant will allow the employees to obtain certification as child development associates.

"We are very excited about this," said Jeanna Wittwer, human resources development coordinator for Tlingit-Haida. "We have a federal requirement for Head Start workers to have a CDA, but only 24 of our employees currently have it."

Tlingit-Haida operates five Head Start centers in Juneau, plus others in Angoon, Klawock, Craig, Hoonah, Petersburg, Saxman, Sitka, Wrangell and Yakutat, Wittwer said.

"We allow 2 1/2 years from initial hire for people to obtain the CDA," she said.

The 40 employees will earn their CDAs by attending classes to earn up to 14 credits at the University of Alaska Southeast and by attending the National Association for Young Children conference in October.

There are three types of CDA: Home visitor, center-based and infant/toddlers. Most of the 40 employees will aim at home visitor or center-based certificates, she said.

"With the achievement of the CDAs, it gives us the potential to enhance the quality of our programs because the workers have more knowledge of child development and a large variety of topics," Wittwer said.

The Head Start grant is one of 18 state training grants totaling over $1 million announced last week by the Department of Labor. A grant of $47,721 is headed to the Sitka Pioneers' Home to train certified nurses' aides, and a $98,557 grant will go to Cornerstone Home Health Care of Juneau to train 64 people in a variety of health care skills.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at

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