Office of Engage @ EMU launches Child Development Certificate Pipeline Pilot Program

Program will offer financial assistance to those who would like to receive their certificate in child development in order to work in Washtenaw County child development centers

YPSILANTI – The Office of Engage@EMU is responding to a critical need for child development employees in eastern Washtenaw County by providing an entryway into employment as an assistant or lead teacher at a child development center site. 

This Child Development Certificate (CDC) Pipeline Program enables community members to take their CDC courses at Washtenaw Community College (WCC) while completing their practicum semester at The Collaborative: Ypsilanti YMCA Child Development Center. 

The Office of Engage@EMU is leveraging pre-existing relations with local community and government partners, acting as a liaison garnering financial support from these partners to assist students in their educational goals. 

“WCC’s Early Childhood Program is thrilled to be a partner and we look forward to assisting scholarship recipients reach their educational goals.” said Beth Marshall, an early collaborator for the Pipeline Program and Early Childhood Program Coordinator at WCC. 

The CDC Pipeline Program and the broad collaboration of partners is the first of its kind in Washtenaw County. It involves four semesters of online courses with one in-person practicum semester. Upon completion of the CDC program at WCC, students have the option to either use their certificate towards employment as an assistant or lead teacher at a child development center. If students are interested they can use the credits earned at WCC to assist them with transferring to a baccalaureate degree in Early Childhood Education at EMU. 

By reducing the financial barrier to accessing education, the pipeline program provides an entryway to an educational opportunity for community members, including high school students from Ypsilanti Community Schools (YCS) and residents served by the Family Empowerment Program (FEP) residing in the Ypsilanti Housing Commission (YHC). 

The University of Michigan Credit Union (UMCU) is a partner in the initiative.

“Our partnership with Engage@EMU aligns with our steadfast commitment to supporting the communities that we serve,” said Julie Wigley, UMCU Vice President of Brand and Community Development. “It is a part of our core values, not only as a credit union, but as a member of the community, to support endeavors that help our community succeed as a whole.”

In addition to UMCU, Michigan Works! Southeast, the Washtenaw Office of Community and Economic Development, the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber, and Lake Trust Credit Union are active partners in developing the pipeline program and paying WCC.

"This pilot program is a multi-win opportunity that brings together some of our best community partners,” said Andy LaBarre Executive Vice President & Director of Government Relations for the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber and Washtenaw County Board of Commissioner for District 7. “It will greatly improve the availability of high quality and affordable child care, providing an excellent tool for businesses to attract and retain talented employees."

Interested participants can contact Caroline Sanders at or Johnny Epps, Michigan Works! Southeast Washtenaw Service Center, 

About Engage@EMU

Engage@EMU is Eastern Michigan University's primary entry way to navigating and cultivating collaboration and partnerships between the University and business and community entities. Current social service programs and collaborations include: the EMU Family Empowerment Program, the Ypsilanti Housing Commission’s Supportive Services program; The Collaborative: Ypsilanti YMCA Child Development Center, The Legal Resource Center and education programs such as EMU Bright Futures and Upward Bound. 

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves nearly 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

July 14, 2020

Written by:
Juliane Vogl

Geoff Larcom