Early childhood educators receive tuition-free coursework  

Teachers talking

Further enhancing early childhood education across Pennsylvania is a vital step in helping children discover a love of lifelong learning on their journey to becoming global citizens in an increasingly interconnected world.  

To support the growth of children and future generations in the Commonwealth, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services' Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) granted $5.9M for the creation of the Early Childhood Education Professional Development Organization at PASSHE (ECEPDO@PASSHE). The mission is to provide coursework and credit-bearing professional development for early childhood professionals across Pennsylvania at little to no cost.    

Opportunities include earning Child Development Associate certification (CDA) and associate’s or bachelor’s degrees, further strengthening the early childhood field by implementing creative solutions to educational barriers in the workforce.  Current estimates are 39% of workers in childcare centers have a relevant credential or degree. The goal under this grant is to increase that to 65% by 2025.  

The statewide initiative consists of a collaborative partnership with Shippensburg, Lock Haven, East Stroudsburg and Edinboro universities and provides leadership throughout key regions of the state. Each university has engaged with their community to offer customized instruction onsite, online and in hybrid formats 

We are excited to offer credit-bearing work with no tuition cost to the early childhood workforce. This is a great opportunity for early childhood educators across the state, and a transformative approach to early childhood education,” said Dr. Jennifer Pyles, director of PDO@PASSHE and assistant professor of teacher education at Shippensburg University, adding that early childhood education is one of the most effective economic development tools.  

In a field that experiences high turnover, this initiative invests in and supports early care and education professionals in unprecedented ways, including a potential 13% return on investment by retaining qualified educators who provide comprehensive, high-quality birth-to-five early childhood education.  

Childcare providers, directors and owners are encouraged to attend a regional event to learn more about the implementation plans, provide valuable input regarding the needs of their region and explore the free coursework.  

Interested persons should contact the program coordinator, Kari Delp at KRDelp@ship.edu or (717) 477-1899 to register for the below workshops. Please include “Workshop Registration” as the Subject line, and include your full name, email address, phone number, title, organization and the date and location you plan to attend. 

Everett, PA - Southwest/Central Region            

  • March 10; 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.        
  • Bedford County Technical Center 
  • 195 Penn Knoll Rd., Everett, PA 15537 

           Pittsburgh, PA - Southwest Region                           

  • March 10; 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.          
  • Carlow University 
  • 3305 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213 

Clarion, PA - Northwest Region                

  • March 12; 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.      
  • Riverview Intermediate School 
  • 270 Mayfield Rd., Clarion, PA. 16214  

State College, PA - Central Region                                 

  • March 13; 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.     
  • Central Intermediate School 
  • 60 Decibel Rd., State College, PA 

Allentown PA, Northeast Region 

  • March 18; 1:00-2:30 p.m. 
  • The Training Institute at Community Services for Children 
  • 1520 Hanover Ave., Allentown, PA 18109