Illinois organization helping adults become teachers, but they need the state’s help

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A mid-life career change can seem impossible, but one organization is trying to make the switch to teaching easier.

The Illinois Golden Apple Foundation has two programs that help people become teachers, but the group said that it needs state money to get those programs to grow.

The “Golden Apple Scholars Program” provides scholarships for prospective teachers. Illinois Golden Apple’s “Accelerators Program” focuses on people working in one career who want to switch to teaching. Classes take place in the summer instead of making them commit to multiple years of constant schooling.

Ashley Tyler has a degree in psychology and worked as a paraprofessional in a downstate school district. She wanted to be a teacher, but she did not think it was possible before these programs.

“I actually worked as a paraprofessional for four years, wondering how in the world I would do this as a mom, and a full time, you know, working full time, and I found Golden Apple,” Tyler said. “I found their website, and they really gave me the opportunity in that avenue to become the teacher.”

Golden Apple of Illinois went to the Capitol to ask for a big increase in funding from the state. Group members want to double what they get from the state, up to $15 million.

They said that they will be able to give out more scholarships, pay more staff and overall get more people into their programs with that money.