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SDQPI and First 5 San Diego Partner to Provide Free Tuition to Early Education Providers




Jaclyn Walian



SDQPI and First 5 San Diego Partner to Provide Free Tuition to Early Education Providers

-No cost opportunity through Grossmont and Cuyamaca Community Colleges for those employed at SDQPI participating sites to complete A.A. degree in child development-


San Diego, Calif. – January 10, 2022– In response to the shortage of early childhood education providers San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative (SDQPI) and First 5 San Diego have partnered to offer free tuition to early education providers (teachers, instructional aides, support staff, leadership) employed at SDQPI participating sites. Through Grossmont College and Cuyamaca College, those who are interested can complete their A.A. degree in child development and all tuition costs, books and a computer will be paid for. 

“Even before the pandemic, there were challenges facing the child care field and COVID has just heightened them,” said Lucia Garay, Executive Director of SDQPI and Early Education Programs at the San Diego County Office of Education. “One of the challenges that continues is child care providers leaving the field for other opportunities, which then limits the capacity of child care programs because they don’t have the adequate staff. This opportunity is our attempt at providing an incentive to employees that will further them in their careers and benefit the children they care for.”

The program will pay for the following: six infant/toddler units (area of specialization), Assistant Permit, Associate Teacher Permit, Teacher Permit, Master Teacher Permit, completion of A.A. degree and all related courses in child development, education, and family studies.

“The first five years of a child's life are crucial in their development and the more opportunities they have to be in high-quality education settings the better they will be prepared for kindergarten and their future,” said Alethea Arguilez, Executive Director of First 5 San Diego. “Our hope for this program is that we are able to strengthen our child care system and provide opportunities that will encourage staff to stay in their positions.”

According to a recent article by The Washington Post, more than 10,000 workers nationally have left the industry since June. SDQPI provides resources and information to educators and works with providers to develop and maintain best practices. First 5 San Diego is the County’s organization that promotes the health and well-being of young children during their most critical years of development, from the prenatal stage through five years of age. Both organizations work to strengthen San Diego’s early learning and care system.

Those interested in this exciting opportunity should fill out this quick informational survey:

Cuyamaca College Students

Grossmont College Students


Employees of SDQPI participating sites can get more information by contacting Nicole Hernandez or Robin Sepulveda




About San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative

The San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative (SDQPI) funded by Quality Counts California (QCC) and First 5 San Diego and operated by San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is focused on continuous quality improvement of early education programs, enhancing the development and learning trajectory of children from birth through five and supporting families with resources. SDQPI is an effort to strengthen San Diego’s early learning and care system to support young children and their families. Learn more at


About the First 5 Commission of San Diego

The first five years of life are critical to a child’s development. These years shape a child’s success in school and in life. First 5 San Diego supports parents and others to help children during these early years. The Commission leads the greater San Diego community in promoting the vital importance of the first five years of life to the health and well-being of children, families and society. The ultimate goal of the Commission’s work is that all children ages zero through five are healthy, loved and nurtured, and enter school as active learners. Learn more at or call toll-free 1-888-5-FIRST5. Stay up to date on social media – Facebook @First5SanDiego, Twitter @First5SD and Instagram @first5sandiego.