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Bluefield University Receives Planning Grant for Teacher Apprenticeship Program

by | Dec 13, 2022

Bluefield, VA Bluefield University’s School of Education and Social Sciences received a $14,000 planning grant from the Virginia Department of Education. The VDOE announced on November 28, that it awarded a total of $143,000 to nine universities across the state to develop programs that would allow would-be teachers on-the-job training, with pay, in classrooms as they do the academic work needed to become a teacher.

“We are extremely excited for this opportunity to help working adults gain on-the-job training in our local schools while completing the requirements to become a teacher,” said Dr. Shellie Brown, Director of Teacher Education. “We are facing a large teacher shortage in Virginia, and this grant will help pay for some classes for individuals and stipends during student teaching while they also have a job with the school.”

The planning grant will be used to work with Tazewell County Public Schools and Buchanan County Public Schools to develop a teacher apprenticeship program aimed at hiring classroom aides, paraprofessionals, long-term substitutes, and other unlicensed school employees as teacher apprentices as they complete coursework in Bluefield University’s new online Elementary and Special Education degree programs.

Bluefield University will also begin offering Elementary and Special Education degrees in an online format beginning Fall 2023 in addition to the on-campus programs.

“Offering our Elementary and Special Education degrees online will provide working adults with the flexibility needed to complete their degrees and become teachers,” said Dr. Brown. “Having students who are already working in the schools will give them the knowledge and skills needed to be ready to hit the ground running when they become teachers and have their own classrooms. This apprenticeship program is a win-win for individuals wishing to become teachers and for our local schools in helping meet the needs of vacant teaching positions.”

Bluefield University’s School of Education & Social Sciences offers a variety of undergraduate programs with teacher licensure related to arts, sciences, special education, and more. It also offers Early Childhood Education and Psychology & Human Services undergraduate programs without teacher licensure in addition to minors and graduate programs. BU’s Teacher Education Program received TEAC accreditation from the Inquiry Brief Commission of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

For more information about BU’s School of Education and Social Sciences, visit,

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