By Justin Udo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia mayor’s office is expanding Early Childhood Education programs throughout the city.

The office is now taking steps to make sure they have enough teachers to support the children entering the program.

The goal is to have 6,500 kids enrolled in the PHL pre-k program by 2020, according to Julie Beamon with the mayor’s Office of Education.

“It’s essential that we get people that are interested in ECE into programs so that they can get their credentials, because they’re definitely needed,” she said.

As they add kids to the program, they’ll need more teachers, and they’re doing that by holding Early Childhood Education Career Fairs.

On Thursday night, dozens of people attended at the School District of Philadelphia headquarters.

“We have tables here from universities all across the region. We have three workshops designed to support people interested in ECE on how they can advance their careers,” Beamon said.

She says they are looking at high school graduates, college graduates, and non-traditional students.

“We really want to diversify the ECE teaching population, so that it reflects the student population that we’re serving,” she said.

Beamon says scholarships and funding is available for both centers and potential teachers.

“One of the most important things is that there’s funding for ECE. There is free money out here to become an early childhood education professional,” she said.

For more information about teaching opportunities can be found at the Office of Education’s website

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