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HCC Early Childhood Education program to host an Open House

The Early Childhood Education (ECE) program at Highland Community College is thriving with more students, and additional faculty, and is partnering with the YWCA of Northwest Illinois for a joint open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9 at the Children’s Hands-On Museum located at Lincoln Mall in Freeport.

“The spotlight and resources Illinois brought to the early childhood profession in the last couple of years have provided exciting opportunities for our early childhood community,” said Melissa Johnson, ECE instructor at Highland. “The Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship program is for individuals who are working or have worked in the early childhood profession and are interested in pursuing higher education.”

The Highland Community College ECE program is committed to shaping the future of the early childhood community in the Highland district by providing education and opportunities for individuals seeking professional growth and investment in the future working with young children.

At the open house, Highland will bring together staff and mentors to speak about the relevance of higher education. Through the ECACE Scholarship program and the addition of the ECE Mentor/Coach at Highland, the college has seen an increase in enrollment of 150 percent.

The Highland Early Childhood Program is a member of the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) and a Gateways to Opportunity Entitled Institution. The ECE program has designed a stackable pathway to help support students’ professional growth. With the passage of the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Act in July 2021, students who earn an Early Childhood Education – Associate of Applied Science degree are now able to transfer the entire degree as a package to 4-year institutions that are a part of ECACE

For more on the Early Childhood Educational program, visit or email