The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has begun the planning process with the regional Professional Development Organizations (PDOs). The PDOs were created to coordinate and facilitate access to credit-bearing coursework and credentials for the early childhood education (ECE) workforce.

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) was selected for the Philadelphia and Southeast (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties) regions. Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania was selected for the Central, Northeast, Northwest, and Southwest regions. See regional map here.

PDOs will support direct access across each service region for the ECE workforce to participate in career pathways that lead to degrees or credentials. This will occur through online, face-to-face, and hybrid options for participants. PDOs will address and work to reduce barriers to degree attainment by coordinating with the Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs) to improve the quality of ECE programs.

The selected applicants began their strategic planning process on Oct. 1, 2019. The PDOs will perform a needs assessment by region and develop a strategic plan including a clear project timetable and specific targets for education attainment. The strategic plan will be approved and public in January 2020. During the planning time you should expect to hear of community engagement opportunities, focus groups and information gathering sessions that each PDO will be doing.

Shippensburg University and PHMC are using the planning period to learn from the field and would like to hear from you to build appropriate, needs based opportunities for ECE professionals. Please take the appropriate Needs Assessment Survey for your region:

While Pennsylvania transitions into the new PDO system, ECE professionals seeking to obtain their Child Development Associate (CDA) (bit.ly/PA-CDA) can find appropriate credit-bearing coursework through numerous institutions of higher learning in communities across the commonwealth. Individuals enrolled in these programs might be eligible for financial assistance from Rising STARS Tuition Assistance but many of them are being funded through dollars that allow child care staff to enroll at low to no cost.

We encourage you to share the survey links widely and to reach out to your PDO to learn of opportunities for you to have input on their workplan.