On Tuesday, January 16, 2020, 29 graduates from CentroNía’s Child Development Associate (CDA) Training Program celebrated the completion of the program AND passing the credentialing exam to receive their CDA certificates. This cohort was particularly special because they participated in the first Amharic-language CDA training program in the country AND they were able to take a credentialing exam in their home language.

The greater Washington region has the country’s largest concentration of residents of Ethiopian descent with 35,000 residents, according to the Migration Policy Institute. What makes it even more special is the fact that a former student of the CDA program, Sebawit Yirsaw, led the charge to create this class and she was able to instruct the cohort when it was officially formed. For Sebawit, the opportunity to return to CentroNía was so exciting on a personal level, and she believes the impact this will have on Amharic speaking and Ethiopian immigrants working in the childcare industry is even more groundbreaking.

CentroNía President & CEO Myrna Peralta (right) posing with the Amharic CDA Instructor Sebawit Yirsaw (left) before the graduation ceremony.

Previously the CDA courses were only available in English and Spanish so those who spoke Amharic were forced to take it in a language they may not completely understand. Candidates also had to take the certification exam in that language, which proved to be a barrier for many aspiring educators. However, all the students in this cohort were able to take the exam in their native language.

We are extremely proud of these students for their hard work throughout the program! A special thank you to the Council for Professional Recognition and the DC Office of the State Superintendent for support us in making this dream a reality.

For more photos, take a look at this album on CentroNía’s Facebook page!