Twelve Greenbrier Valley students have already enrolled in an innovative new degree program designed to meet the demand for qualified child care professionals. The "Associate of Applied Science Program in Occupational Development--Child Care Practitioner" will launch its community college coursework during the Fall 1997 Semester at the Greenbrier Community College Center of Bluefield State College. Terri Wontrobski, Director of the Greenbrier County Head Start Program, participated in last month's signing ceremony at BSC, establishing the program in affiliation with the Child Care Development Specialist Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP). Coordinated through the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, the program meets the guidelines of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services, complementing the occupational specialty classroom education and on-the-job training already available through apprenticeship training. Michael Palm, Student Services Director at the Greenbrier Community College Center of BSC, noted, "The new A.A.S. program in Occupational Development--Child Care Practitioner includes three components. First, there are Department of Education courses that students take while they work at Head Start Programs. Additionally, there is an on-the-job training component, and to complete the program requirements, there is a community college component that can be addressed at the Greenbrier Community College Center." "Several students who have already completed the apprenticeship program courses are enrolled in Fall Semester Coursework at GCCC," he added. "Other students who are not presently in the apprenticeship program can concurrently take apprenticeship training and college coursework at GCCC if they are admitted to the apprenticeship program." According to Palm, approximately 10 openings exist for Fall Semester candidates in the apprenticeship training program. Candidates must be working a minimum of 20 hours in early childhood education to qualify for the program. Additional information may be obtained by contacting GCCC at (304) 645-3303, or Terri Wontrobski at (304) 647-6470.