Working full time and going to college while pregnant is as daunting a situation as they come, but for Billie Owens, it is her success story. In May 2022, Owens became the very first New Hampshire recipient of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® NH scholarship to earn her associate degree in Early Childhood Education, which she received from NHTI – Concord’s Community College.
“It wasn’t the easiest of situations, but T.E.A.C.H. NH made it so worthwhile,” said Owens. “The T.E.A.C.H. program helped me in more ways than I can count, but my success would not have been possible without the help of the amazing staff at NHTI. My questions never went unanswered, and the faculty helped me succeed while I was on maternity leave. I was able to graduate just a few short months after giving birth.”
And though she was the first to graduate from the program, Owens is certainly not alone. T.E.A.C.H. NH, a scholarship program that began in January 2021, is a statewide program offered through Southern NH Services that partners with employers to provide support for early childhood teachers living and working in New Hampshire. T.E.A.C.H. NH enables early childhood teachers to take coursework leading to credentials and degrees by making it possible for them to afford both the time and expense of going to school. Support through the scholarship includes tuition assistance, paid release time from work, book reimbursement, and a dedicated education counselor. Recipients can attend classes at any of the Community College System of New Hampshire institutions plus Granite State College and earn an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education or a CDA® credential through the Council for Professional Recognition.
T.E.A.C.H. NH has, to date, helped 74 early childhood teachers from across the state further their education. Of that total, more than 30% of the scholarship recipients have chosen to pursue their degree at NHTI as part of its Early Childhood Education program.
And New Hampshire’s need for early childhood educators is only increasing. According to a recent article in NH Business Review, pre-pandemic there were 54,019 children under 6 needing care and 32,884 licensed childcare slots, leaving a gap of 21,135 children – a problem that has only gotten worse. Many believe it can be solved by expanding childcare options across the state – which is what T.E.A.C.H. aims to solve.
“As early childhood programs struggle to find qualified teachers throughout NH, T.E.A.C.H. NH can be used to recruit and retain teachers who are vested in helping children learn and thrive,” said Diane Manning, M.Ed. and T.E.A.C.H. NH counselor. “NHTI has been a strong supporter of the T.E.A.C.H. NH program and we look forward to continued collaboration.”
For Owens, her degree does not signify the end of her journey, but the beginning of new opportunities in her field of early childhood education. Because of her dedication and excellent coursework at NHTI, she was recognized by her childcare center’s director with a promotion.
“Without T.E.A.C.H. I would not be in the position I am in today,” said Owens. “Thanks to T.E.A.C.H. I was able to graduate in front of my baby boy and my fiancé, something that meant the world to me. I am now an assistant director of a preschool, and I am loving moving forward in my career.
“I will forever be grateful for the opportunities this program has given and still gives to me. The classes all benefited me in more ways than I can count, and the NHTI professors are all always willing to help. This is something every student deserves to experience.”
Scholarships are still available and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information and to apply for the T.E.A.C.H. NH scholarship, visit Southern NH Services, Inc., call 603-578-1386 x2527, or email email@example.com.
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Teacher Education and Compensation Helps New Hampshire (T.E.A.C.H. NH) is a comprehensive scholarship program offered through Southern NH Services, Inc. It was funded under a contract with the State of NH, Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Economic and Housing Stability, Bureau of Child Development and Head Start Collaboration, with funds provided in part by the State of NH and the US Department of Health and Human Services.
T.E.A.C.H. NH offers four scholarship options for teachers and family child care providers in New Hampshire. Recipients enroll in courses at local colleges while working at least 30 hours per week. In exchange for receiving increased compensation, recipients also agree to remain at the sponsoring program for at least 6 months to 1 year following the completion of their scholarship contract. The commitment period will vary by the type of scholarship that is awarded.
NHTI – Concord’s Community College
NHTI is a dynamic public institution of higher learning that provides accessible, rigorous education for students, businesses, and the community. We create pathways for lifelong learning, career advancement, and civic engagement, offering 90+ academic programs to 4,600+ students annually. NHTI is a member of the Community College System of New Hampshire and since 1969 has been accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, a nongovernmental, nationally recognized accrediting agency.
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