Paladin’s ECE Strengthens Commitment to Teachers, Partners with Ivy Tech In “Achieve Your Degree’ Program

Early Childhood Technical Certificate from the accredited statewide community college system at no cost. 

Paladin, a non-profit organization that hosts Head Start of LaPorte County, Imagination Station (Michigan City) and Early Childhood Programs at Bethany Church (LaPorte City), is pleased to announce its partnership with Ivy Tech Community College. The partnership will offer employees the opportunity to earn an Early Childhood Technical Certificate from the accredited statewide community college system at no cost. 

Paladin believes that its teaching staff is the key to curating exceptional learning experiences for children but needs to think outside the box amidst Indiana’s teacher shortage. “Paladin’s partnership with Ivy Tech is opening doors for so many. Quality education and qualified candidates in education is a primary focus. Teaching staff is being granted an experience to increase their knowledge, understanding, and competence level of early childhood education. This will give them a sense of empowerment while gaining skills, and while on the road of success to earning a certificate and/or degree. This will also result in children receiving and engaging in more quality learning experiences. We are very excited to be a part of this new journey.” said Aprille Baylock, Paladin’s Education Manager. 

“The Achieve Your Degree Program is a partnership between Ivy Tech Community College and nearly 300+ local employers throughout the state. Achieve Your Degree provides a path for companies to skill up their workforce and gives employees the opportunity to learn new skills and earn a free credential from Ivy Tech while still working full-time. This is a wonderful program that helps both students and local employers in real time,” said Patti Shields, Campus Executive Director of Ivy+ Career Link 

Paladin’s Early Childhood Programs already operate at a very high standard that meet or exceeds Federal and State guidelines. Lead Teachers are required to have, at minimum, an associates or bachelor’s degree in child development or early childhood education; those without these qualifications can receive a waiver if concurrently working toward a degree. Paladin’s Imagination Station is accredited with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), has achieved Level 4 on the Paths to QUALITY™, and accepts CCDF and On My Way Pre-K Vouchers. Steve Hobby, President, and CEO of Paladin says, “We are able to serve more children but have waitlists due to the workforce shortage in education. The partnership with Ivy Tech will be beneficial to staff, students, and the community.” 

“Our partnership with Paladin is a natural pathway for local community growth. It’s a huge win for both groups. The most popular benefit of the program for students is the opportunity to gain additional skills and a degree or certificate without paying tuition upfront. This helps students expand skillsets and earn credentials necessary for jobs in the region. Paladin’s continued commitment to curation of exceptional learning experiences lends well to our mission – higher education at the speed of life,” said Patti Shields, Campus Executive Director of Ivy+ Career Link. 

One of the highlights of Ivy Tech’s Early Education certificate is the creation of a pathway to a degree. Completion of the Interdisciplinary Workforce Certificate will allow those interested in continuing education to take courses chosen from existing college curriculum and schedules. 

Paladin is a non-profit that serves as advocates for adults with disabilities, children, and seniors. To support Paladin’s efforts or for career opportunities, contact us at, visit us online at or 

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns to the needs of the community. The College provides seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a Bachelor’s degree. Follow Ivy Tech on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the most up-to-date information. 

About Paladin, Inc.

Paladin serves as determined advocates and allies for people with disabilities, in fact we’ve been doing it for over fifty years! Paladin was created through a merger between Michiana Resources and Parents and Friends on July 1, 2017. Michiana Resources, founded in 1967 by Richard F. Surber, provided vocational opportunities. Parents and Friends, founded in 1976 by Joan Coleman and Jane Herrberg, provided direct support and residential services to intellectually disabled individuals in the community. Paladin also merged with Barker Enrichment Center (7/2018) and the Childcare Consortium (2019) to provide children’s services and assumed Day Programming in Lake County (9/2018). Paladin now serves approximately 500 children, individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities, and seniors in Northwest Indiana