Wolf administration to invest $10 million to support early childhood educators

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Governor Tom Wolf announced his administration will make a $10 million investment in Pennsylvania’s children through a workforce development program.

The program 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 workforce have been selected to work with the departments of Human Services and Education’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning on this priority.

Public Health Management Corporation was selected for the Philadelphia and Southeast regions. Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania was selected for the Central, Northeast, Northwest, and Southwest regions.

The office will redirect the $10 million of federal funds to implement a system of professional development that will transform the workforce in each region.

The Early Care and Education Professional Development Organizations will work to improve the quality and effectively educate young children and to meet the specific needs of their region’s 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.

Governor Wolf also has proposed a minimum wage increase for all working Pennsylvanians. A wage increase for childcare 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 childcare providers, and maintaining a strong childcare 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 childcare 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.”

For information on early childhood education services available in Pennsylvania, visit www.dhs.pa.gov or www.findchildcare.pa.gov.