The Apprenticeship for Child Development Specialist (ACDS) is a four-semester training program developed in West Virginia for staff in child care centers, Head Start, preschool, school-age care programs and public schools. ACDS is based on the U.S. Department of Labor's (USDL) apprenticeship model and requires a total of 300 hours of course work and 4,000 hours of on-the-job experience. It also requires the commitment of the apprentice's employer to provide supervision and support of the apprentice's laboratory work and an increase in wages upon successful completion of the training. Graduates receive national certification through the USDL.
In West Virginia, the ACDS is a collaborative effort of the State Office of the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, U.S. Department of Labor; the Bureau of Vocational, Technical and Adult Education, West Virginia Department of Education; River Valley Child Development Services; and local vocational schools. This training program can be implemented in any state through the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, and does not need to be in conjunction with the State Department of Education.