Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that his administration will make a $10 million investment in Pennsylvania’s children through a workforce development program that will help early childhood workers gain valuable credentials and advance their professional careers.
“It’s imperative that we support early childhood workers with career training and advancement opportunities,” Gov. Wolf said. “For their own fulfillment, to retain skilled employees and, most importantly, to provide the youngest Pennsylvanians with the very best start on their educational and developmental journey.”
Two professional development organizations that specialize in access to credit-bearing coursework and credentials for the early childhood education (ECE) workforce have been selected to work with the departments of Human Services’ and Education’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) on this priority.
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.
OCDEL will redirect the $10 million of federal funds to implement a system of professional development that will transform the ECE workforce in each region. The Early Care and Education Professional Development Organizations (ECE PDOs) will work with the Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs) to improve the quality of ECE programs to more effectively educate young children and to meet the specific needs of their region’s ECE workforce through low- to no-cost credit-bearing programs.
These funds are in addition to the substantial investment committed to high-quality early learning programs for Pennsylvania’s youngest citizens made in Governor Wolf’s 2019-2020 budget, including:
- $15 million in federal funds to reduce the child care subsidy waiting list and enable access to high-quality child care for 970 infants and toddlers;
- $5 million in state funds and $1.8 million in federal funds to support a 3 percent rate increase for early intervention programs, allowing providers to stay competitive as they recruit and retain qualified staff to support program enrollment;
- $10 million in federal funds to provide a 28 percent increase for infant and toddler daily tiered reimbursement rates for STAR 2, 3, and 4 child care providers;
- $2 million in federal funds to support an apprenticeship model specifically for infant and toddler teachers to achieve their associate degree; and
- $5 million in state funds to allow an additional 800 families to receive evidence-based home visiting services.
Governor Wolf also has proposed a minimum wage increase for all working Pennsylvanians. A wage increase for child care workers is an important step towards ensuring that wages for early childhood educators are keeping up with growing educational requirements and the cost of living, reducing staff turnover for child care providers, and maintaining a strong child care workforce that gives children a strong start that will carry through education and adulthood.
“All early childhood educators should have access to a unified state system of education and professional development to ensure our children and families have access to high-quality child care no matter where they live,” said Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller. “We look forward to partnering with Shippensburg and PHMC in a combined effort to support the early childhood education workforce and the needs of Pennsylvania’s children through education.”
“Early childhood education is crucial to the development of children across the commonwealth and we know that this is the most important time during a child’s brain development,” said Pennsylvania Department of Education Secretary Pedro Rivera. “The education of the individuals teaching our children is of paramount importance and why the Wolf Administration has made the ECE workforce a priority in the 2019-2020 budget.”