Project Pathfinders

One of the most important factors in school success is the capabilities of the adults who promote young children’s growth and learning. VECF is pleased to be part of an exciting initiative to support one of Virginia’s most valuable workforces – early childhood professionals. VECF administers a scholarship program – Project Pathfinders – designed to increase the skills of early childhood professionals in preschool and child care settings by accessing community college coursework and credentials. Thanks to state funding made available in the budget by the Governor and the Virginia General Assembly, we look forward to the opportunity to ensure that Virginia has the best trained early education workforce.

Spring Semester 2023 Applications for funding:

NOW CLOSED: Project Pathfinders applications for currently employed childcare providers to attend a community college or 4-year college and work towards an EC certificate/degree WERE open from October 15 through December 1.

NOW OPEN: Project Pathfinders application ONLY for current high school students enrolled in an official dual enrollment/concurrent program through their high school/county IS open from December 2 – January 31.

Community College Early Childhood Certification/Degree


4-year College Early Childhood Bachelor's Degree


Application Open Dec 2 - Jan 31

Project Pathfinders Spotlight

I graduated from NOVA Community College on Sunday, May 15, 2022. I would like to take this time to express my deepest gratitude to the Project Pathfinders Team for providing a great program that serves, assists, and gives students like myself the opportunity to pursue an education

Five years ago, I wanted to go back to school, but I did not know how I would pay my tuition. Before then I was working with children as a nanny and sometimes babysitting, and I enjoyed my interaction with them. One day, I found a job in an early childhood program, which allowed me to work with children in a classroom setting and teach them. My passion and love to teach children grew even more, and I decided to further my education in Early Childhood Education to better help my students. Because of Project Pathfinders Scholarship program, I was able to go back to school and pursue my career. Project Pathfinders paid for my tuition and textbooks for all my time at NOVA, and I am grateful for all it did for me and other students; You have helped and continue to help make dreams come true.

Words can not express how I feel at this moment and how much your support means to my family and I. Today, I am a college graduate because of this amazing program. The Project Pathfinders Team inspired me to continue my education and pursue my Bachelors degree – none of this would be possible without you.

– Therese Emene