Apprenticeship Carlow
Image courtesy of Carlow University

BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES BY BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS. Pennsylvania’s Early Childhood Educator Apprenticeship Program aims to address early childhood education (ECE) workforce shortages, while addressing equity and access to high-quality early childhood for all families through a statewide registered apprenticeship system grounded in local and state partnerships.

The ECEPDO @ PASSHE is an ideal partner to meet this goal! With an overarching commitment to model honesty, kindness, a gentle spirit, and an unquestionable work ethic, the PDO-sponsored apprenticeship opportunity will include regional workforce coordinators who will develop partnerships between intermediaries, employers, higher education, and community organizations to scale apprenticeships more strategically.

  • Partnership development
  • Intermediary capacity building
  • Marketing and outreach
  • Employer recruitment
  • Higher education partner recruitment
  • Funding for apprentices

The ECEPDO Apprenticeship Program focuses on both the existing ECE workforce, as well as job seekers. Providing a seamless transfer of college credits from the Child Development Associate credential (CDA) to Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees, the ECEPDO Apprenticeship Program includes a commitment from employers to provide higher compensation to apprentices as their skills and knowledge increase.

Frequently Asked Questions

Early Childhood Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship students earn while they learn. Modeled after the trades, apprentices will increase job skills and obtain a credential or degree while working full‐time. Most can attend college tuition-free.

    Early childhood employers and care providers often face challenges associated with recruitment and retention of highly trained staff. These challenges impact the quality of consistent care and costs associated with frequent staff turnover.


    Early Childhood Apprenticeship in Pennsylvania is building opportunities by breaking down barriers associated with equity and access to education and quality care. Apprentice programs address many of the most pressing issues faced by childcare providers today. By elevating staff satisfaction through increased education, coaching, and mentorship, your facility can become a place where people want to work! Apprenticeship builds a pipeline of industry leaders from within that benefits employers, staff, and most importantly — young children and their families.


    Early Childhood Employers
    Pennsylvania child care programs licensed by the PA Department of Human Services (DHS) that are willing to meet Early Childhood Registered Apprenticeship Program requirements are eligible to participate. This also includes Head Start programs.

    Early Childhood Employees
    Any employee of a DHS-licensed child care program who wishes to increase their credentials and job skills is eligible to participate.


    In a nutshell, the employer identifies one eligible coach per apprentice. Eligible coaches are experienced employees with the same certification/degree or higher that the apprentice is seeking. Coaches must also be willing to complete training and meet with their apprentice one hour per week; attend periodic coaching meetings; document the apprentice’s competency attainment; and serve as role models as they help the apprentice connect theory to practice on the job. Apprenticeship goes beyond professional development; it opens a myriad of on-site supports for both employers and apprentices.


    There is a team ready to support you! Whether you are an employer or early childhood employee interested in professional development, contact the Workforce Coordinator who services your county. We are excited to work with you!

Contact a Workforce Coordinator

What help can Workforce Coordinators offer?

Workforce Coordinators can facilitate an ideal earn-while-you-learn opportunity involving early childhood professionals and their employers.

Early Childhood Apprenticeship can transform the workforce through training and focused coaching and mentorship.
This results in positive outcomes for the employer, the workforce, and the children and families served.


  • Reduced teacher turnover and costs associated with turnover
  • Improved teacher recruitment and retention
  • Creation of a career pathway to “grow your own” highly skilled and educated teaching workforce
  • Increased job satisfaction and a positive work environment
  • Increased leadership development for both apprentices and on-site coaches)
  • A favorable reputation in the community


  • No-cost/low-cost education sponsored by the ECEPDO@PASSHE
  • Earn while you learn, as college credits are awarded for on-the-job skill and competency attainment.
  • Journey Person Certificate and college degrees
  • Numerous supports to ensure your success
  • Wage increases during apprenticeship