Learn Who We Are and How We Can Help

  • What is the Professional Development Organization (PDO)?

    The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Professional Development Organization (PDO) at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is a Pennsylvania Department of Education grant-funded partnership among four PASSHE universities (Shippensburg, Lock Haven, East Stroudsburg, and Edinboro) and other educational partners across the commonwealth.

  • What is the purpose of the ECE [email protected]?

    By breaking down cost barriers that often make higher education out of reach, the ECE [email protected] makes professional development possible for many who care for our youngest citizens!

    • Early Childhood professionals expand their skills toolbox and may earn higher wages.
    • Childcare center owners and directors attract and retain more qualified staff.
    • Most importantly – young children in their care benefit from quality early learning during formative years.
  • What is the opportunity for early childcare workers?

    By providing no-cost/low-cost tuition and other learning supports to early childhood education students within the PDO, we are breaking down barriers to accessing educational credentials, ranging from certificates to college degrees. In turn, credentialed workers are better positioned for higher wages and are empowered with greater skills to provide the highest quality of care to young children.

    ECE [email protected] partners enable PDO early childhood education students to transfer their credits earned from one educational partner to another partner school, offering even greater flexibility to meet students’ needs.

  • What does ECE PDO assistance cover?
    • Tuition for several certificates and undergraduate degree programs in Early Childhood Education
    • Apprenticeship opportunities to earn while you learn
    • Free online tutoring in numerous subjects
    • Technology supports, as needed
    • Success coaching
  • What are the requirements for ECE PDO assistance?

    Applicants must:

    • Must be a Pennsylvania resident
    • Be a current employee at a certified child care program for 3 months or more or demonstrate employment history of 6 months in child care if newly hired. Participants actively enrolled in PDO activities will not be impacted by change of employer as long as the new employer is a certified child care program
    • Work a minimum of 25 hours per week directly in a certified child care program and
    • Be interested in pursuing coursework at a participating college toward an AA or BA degree or a CDA credential
  • Who can help you navigate the process?

    Our goal is to make this as easy as possible for you!

    Regardless of where you live, work, or want to advance your professional development, any of these Professional Development Coordinators are eager to help you.

    Help is here for you!


As an early childcare worker/student, you can access numerous partner institutions of higher education and programs to earn a variety of certificates and other credentials, and an Associate’s degree or Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at no or low cost!

3 STEPS to Advance Your Career in Early Childhood Education

3 Steps  

Advance Your Education and Career Goals Today!
3 pathways to advance your academic and professional development
Child Development Associate Certificate (CDA)
Associate’s Degree, Early Childhood Education
Bachelor’s Degree, Early Childhood Education
  • With this support system, there is no possible way I can fail at this. If you want it badly enough, the help is available to get you through. Go for it!
    Tyquanna Ratcliffe , PDO-sponsored-student attending Westmoreland County Community College
  • Go for it and be the best teacher you can be! For that to happen, it’s important to get all the skills and education you can. The PDO made that possible for me and can for you, too.
    Leigh Ann Janicki , PDO-sponsored CDA graduate of Shippensburg University
  • “The support offered by the PDO has helped me to excel. The flexible online environment makes it very easy to balance home, work, and school. Anyone who is considering this educational opportunity should take advantage of it while it is available. We are so fortunate to be able to get the CDA and degrees without cost.”
    Pallavi Priyadarshini , PDO-sponsored CDA graduate of Edinboro University
  • I started my first CDA course recently and am so happy this is funded by the PDO because without it, I would not have had this opportunity. I feel I will learn so much from the content in this class. My goal is to learn and grow with everyone. Thank you, PASSHE PDO!
    Susan Wallace , CDA Course Student, PDO SW Region
  • "Within a few days, I was registered at Shippensburg University and started classes. Balancing work and school has been a bit of a challenge, but a hurdle that I knew I could overcome. Knowing that I had the support of the PDO gave me the confidence to tackle several courses at once and earn A grades!"
    Diane Hoffman , Child Care Operator Completes CDA, Pursues Associate's Degree
  • I am the director of a center in Berks County and want to say thank you for funding four of my staff who are now able to work on their CDA because of your assistance. Having quality programs to teach our future teachers and maintaining a Star 4 center is a wonderful match. I have had many staff graduate with either certificates or degrees in ECE. Your help with the cost is such a blessing. Thank you again!
    Lisa Zimmerman, Center Director , CDA Course Students Katie, Amanda, Becky, Heather PDO NE Region
  • I am so happy to obtain funding to attend classes. This is really helping my family, as my husband lost his job and I am the only person working [in my household]. I am finishing a two-year degree and will soon be the director of the center where I work. Although I prefer to stay anonymous, I do want to say ‘thank you’ for this opportunity.
  • The children learn life lessons from a very early age. It’s so important to shape their learning and behavior when they are young to help them develop strong, positive habits. I see real meaning from what I learn in class and how it applies to children in my care.
    Shaunte Sloan-Ambush , PDO-sponsored student attending Lock Haven University
  • I am currently taking coursework in leadership and it is helping me in my new role as a director. The course has taught me proper communication tools to use with my staff and families, ethics, and the vision I want for my center.
    Amy Stuck , Director Credential Course Student, PDO Central Region