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ESSEX – State Senator Patrick Joyce is encouraging early childhood education workers who want to pursue additional credentials or earn a degree in early childhood education to apply for a scholarship opportunity.

“Illinois is currently experiencing a shortage of early childhood educators in school districts all around the state,” said Joyce (D-Essex). “Being an educator is a very impactful career. I strongly encourage residents to consider applying for this grant program.”

While the initial deadline for the 2022-23 scholarship has passed, the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is encouraging individuals to apply. After other financial aid is received, the ECACE can cover up to the total cost of an awardee’s attendance at select schools – including tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies. Recipients of the scholarship are expected to continue or return to teaching early childhood care and education in Illinois after their study is completed.

“This program is beneficial to those who have early childhood care experience who wish to acquire additional skills or want to obtain a college education,” said Joyce. “There is no better time than now to take advantage of this program so the state can see sufficient numbers of early childhood educators.”

For more information about the program, eligibility details and an online application, visit