By Lindsay Lorenz
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island College announced Monday plans to debut a program aimed at providing credentials to those who work in the growing field of before- and afterschool care.
According to a news release, the college will offer a four-course certificate of undergraduate studies in youth services that will cater to workers who do not wish to pursue college degrees, but would like more background in youth development, and to earn a credential for their efforts.
“Lots of education of our young people happens in informal and outside-of-school settings,” said Mary Sullivan, director of RIC’s STEM Center, a professional development center for educators of science, technology, engineering and mathematics studies. “Many providers don’t have college degrees, yet want a credential that would be recognized in the field. That’s why it’s important to offer college-level coursework for providers, so they can incorporate the theoretical knowledge into their practice.”
Sullivan believes the program to be the first of its kind in the state and possibly in the region.
“It’s unique because it’s taught entirely by college faculty to a cohort of students, and it is a hybrid program, meaning that some course components are offered online, resulting in fewer face-to-face classroom sessions,” Sullivan said in a release. “Both aspects support student learning and flexible scheduling.”
Eighteen students will be accepted into the program and will complete the yearlong program together.
After completion, students may apply the credits they have earned toward a degree program, including RIC’s new major in youth development.