District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund Partners with ACUDEN to Establish an Early Childhood Education Registered Apprenticeship Program


Philadelphia, PA, 09/18/2023 – The District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund (Training Fund) is thrilled to announce its new strategic partnership with the Puerto Rico Administration of Integral Child Care and Development (ACUDEN). This groundbreaking collaboration is set to revolutionize the early childcare education sector in Puerto Rico, ensuring a brighter future for both childcare professionals and the children they serve.

The Training Fund, renowned for its commitment to workforce development and education, is joining forces with ACUDEN to implement an Early Childhood Education Registered Apprenticeship Program for Puerto Rico’s Early Head Start & Head Start Programs. Registered Apprenticeships are innovative work-based training programs that allow employers to develop and prepare their future workforce, while providing individuals with an earn while-you-learn approach to career development.

This initiative is one of the largest for the island and will bring about several transformative opportunities for the 18 Early Head Start Centers and 164 Head Start Centers across the 24 Municipalities by:

  • Empowering individuals with self-paced online training, resources, and support to earn their Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential
  • Creating a career pathway for childcare workers to earn advanced degrees in early childhood education
  • Supporting Teachers, Teacher Assistants, Health Technicians, Social Workers, and Program Staff with competitive pay, benefits, and access to supports
  • Engaging with local communities and employers to raise awareness about the significance of investing in the need for a highly skilled early childhood education workforce
  • Establishing standards of excellence in childcare, ensuring that every child receives the highest level of care and educational support

In announcing this partnership, Teresa Collins, Executive Director of District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund, expressed the excitement about the potential impact of this collaboration, stating, “We believe that by joining forces with ACUDEN, we can truly make a difference in the lives of childcare workers and the children they serve. Quality early childhood education is the foundation of a successful future, and we are committed to ensuring that every child has access to the best possible care.”

Without a doubt, teamwork helps us reach our objectives. We enthusiastically accept this joint collaboration that greatly benefits Puerto Rico’s children, strengthening our commitment to them. That is why it is important to have people that are constantly training and learning the necessary certifications as first responders to identify any signals that may harm our children. In ACUDEN we are training our entire work force and giving them the resources they need to efficiently execute quality services “, said Roberto Carlos Pagán, ACUDEN Administrator, who mentioned that the collaboration has already yielded positive results among personnel, with more than 580 people registering to get certified.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of the Family, Ciení Rodríguez Troche, stated that “with this alliance we continue to create an ecosystem that will guarantee a future filled with possibilities for our children. “Today, we increase our ally’s knowledge to offer care and education so that we can together continue our mission to ensure the well-being of our children, pursuant to Governor Pedro Pierluisi’s commitment. While they are working with our children, they are being trained to acquire the tools they need. We will work so that our efforts don’t decrease until we reach the transformation in the care and primary education that our children need.”

Maryanne Ramirez Muller, Education Manager of the Head Start/ Early Head Start Program at the ACUDEN, echoed these sentiments, saying, “This partnership aligns perfectly with our mission to provide comprehensive development for children. By providing childcare workers with the skills and knowledge they need to build their careers, we are investing in the future of Puerto Rico’s children and communities.”

The partnership between the Training Fund and ACUDEN represents a significant step forward in the advancement of early childhood education, setting a new standard for excellence in Puerto Rico’s Early Head Start & Head Start Programs. It is anticipated that this collaboration will lead to a promising future for Puerto Rico’s childcare professionals and the children under their care.

For media inquiries or further information, please contact:
Teresa Collins
Executive Director
+1 (484) 328-6048 ext. 6048

About District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund:

District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund is a leading workforce development organization committed to providing quality education and training for healthcare and human services workers. With a rich history of serving the community, the Training Fund is dedicated to helping individuals achieve their career goals.


The Puerto Rico Administration of Integral Child Care and Development (ACUDEN) is a government agency focused on promoting and supporting the well-being and development of children. ACUDEN’s mission is to ensure that all children have access to high-quality care and education during their early years, setting the stage for lifelong success.

About Head Start and Early Head Start:

Head Start programs promote the school readiness of young children from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development. The Head Start program’s authorizing purpose is to promote the school readiness of young children. School readiness means children are prepared for school, families are supporting their children’s learning, and schools are ready as children transition into kindergarten.

This project has been funded, either wholly or in part, with Federal funds from the Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration under Contract number 1605C2-22-C-0007, the contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement of same by the U.S. Government.

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