The St. Louis Metro YWCA is looking help out low-income parents through a program that will provide them a job during a challenging economy. Low-income parents who are having a hard time finding work, have an opportunity to get a job through the YWCA, which is offering a program to those interested in the education field to become a part-time substitute teacher’s aide with the prospect of becoming hired as a full-time employee.

Through the Head Start Program at the YWCA, the center is offering Substitute Teacher Aide classes to parents that include a week of training and other requirements such as a high school diploma or GED, background check and health exam. If they’re qualified, they can become substitute teacher aides as a part-time employee. “There are some parents who have college degrees who just need additional coursework in early childhood to become a full-time employee,” she says.

Assistant Program Director Stacy Johnson says it’s a stepping stone for parents. “The focus is on various aspects of childhood education, classroom environment, teacher and child interaction… and as long as the parents complete the week long training and receive their certificate, then they are eligible to apply for a part-time position,” she says.

Johnson says the program, which began in July, has been successful and she hopes more people who meet the requirements are interested to become employed through the program. The training sessions are also successful, having employed six people already.

“And in the meantime, parents are always encouraged to volunteer, to come in and observe and be a part of the classroom setting. So, even prior to becoming employed they can get additional experience in their own child’s classroom or volunteering at the center at whatever capacity they’re comfortable,” she says. Adding, “It not only benefits us as we’re able to find people in the community who are interested in early childhood education and help promote that profession,” she says.

 AUDIO: Mary Farucci reports. (1:00)