Workforce Development

The Office of Child Care not only provides subsidies to offset the cost of child care, but it also licenses child care providers statewide, and funds a number of quality and workforce development initiatives.

The following are the professional development pathways designed to prepare the working, early childhood educator to advance their skills and reach career goals.

A graphic telling people to check out the Back to Work Rhode Island website for info on child care openings across the state.


Educators working in DHS licensed CCAP programs serving children age birth-five can apply for a T.E.A.C.H. RI scholarship to offset the cost of earning early childhood college credits, certificates and degrees at the Community College of RI (CCRI), Rhode Island College (RIC) and the University of Rhode Island (URI). TEACH scholarships differ per program of study, but may offer tuition assistance, books, travel, paid time off, bonus and wage enhancements,  

CCRI Early Care and Education Training Program (ECETP) CDA Cohort Training

Educators are recruited two times per year to enroll in a Pre-School, Infant, Toddler or FCCP/Spanish CDA cohort training. Weekly classes meet in the evening for 16 weeks. Training, materials, books, tutoring and mentoring are included. The cost of the National CDA exam is available through T.E.A.C.H. RI scholarship. CCRI CDA students are also eligible for a one-time T.E.A.C.H. CDA renewal grant. CCRI offers credit reciprocity for any certified CDA educators who matriculated into the Early Childhood Certificate (24-creidit program) or the ECE, A.A. program.  

CCRI Early Care and Education Training Program (ECETP) 12-Credit ECE Cohort Model

Educators are recruited each spring. Students apply for an ECETP grant and enroll in the college as a CCRI HMNS student. Tuition, books, coaching, mentoring and academic tutoring are fully funded. Learning cohorts enroll in one course a semester in the evening. All courses directly apply to the CCRI Early Childhood Certificate (ECH) and the A.A. program, with reciprocity agreements with RIC and URI.

CCRI Certificate in Early Childhood Education (ECH-24 credit program)

This pathway is complimentary to both ECETP workforce pathways and designed for the novice and seasoned professionals who wishes to improve or upgrade his/her knowledge and skills in early childhood development and child care. Upon completion students can earn up to 24 core credits in ECE. Courses are offered days and evenings, and they directly apply toward the Department’s A.A. degree with reciprocity agreements with RIC and URI. The Early Childhood Certificate is not a teaching credential for the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). This program is eligible for a T.E.A.C.H. RI scholarship.

Two child care teachers sing along and perform with their students.

CCRI Early Childhood Education and Child Development Concentration (CHLD), Associate in Arts Degree in Education (AA)

Child development and early childhood education majors can complete their A.A. degree at CCRI and transfer to RIC or URI ECE degree programs. Classes are held at varied times and locations. Students apply to CCRI and have access to all college supports and services. Courses are available at varied times and locations. This certificate is not a RIDE K-12 certification. This program is eligible for a T.E.A.C.H. RI scholarship.

RIC Early Childhood Education certificate and B.S. programs of study

Rhode Island College offers three ECE BA programs of study as well as a 16-credit Infant Toddler Certificate (B3CUS), all of which are eligible for a T.E.A.C.H. RI scholarship. The Infant Toddler Certificate of Undergraduate Studies (RIBEST/Spanish) is a new pathway designed to remove the identified language barriers for our Spanish speaking Family Home Care providers by delivering core courses in Spanish paired with contextualized English language learning courses. In 2021, the program will expand to include a non-ELL option. Core credits transfer into the RIC B-3 B.A. degree, and has reciprocity with the CCRI A.A. degree. Students can also choose to enroll in one of three BA concentrations: Concentration in Teaching (certification Pre-K through Grade 2); Concentration in Community Programs; Concentration in Birth to Three.

New Workforce Initiatives 2021

T.E.A.C.H. RI agreements are in process to support ECE degree attainment in Early Childhood Education (BS) from URI. The URI ECE BA is a fully accredited certification program that leads to an initial teaching certificate for the pre-school and primary grades (Pre-K to 2) in Rhode Island.

DHS Infant Toddler Registered Apprentice Pilot-Spring recruitment. As part of the federally-funded Preschool Development Grant Birth-Five Renewal award (PDG B-5), DHS in coordination with RIAEYC/T.E.A.C.H. RI, Building Futures RI and community partners developed and piloted an Infant Toddler Registered Apprentice program (RA) that launched in January 2021.

Objectives are designed to increase the availability of high-quality infant toddler educators, support compensation initiatives and reduce staff turnover. The level I pilot is unique in that it is a whole classroom approach. In this level, the apprentice is the teacher assistant who enrolls and participates in a prescribed PD pathway that includes Infant Toddler CDA training and certification achievement as well as completing additional professional development and on the job learning objectives. The lead teacher will assume the role of the mentor and participates in individual and group PD and TA to effectively mentor the apprentice.  

Participation requires financial commitments from the program sponsor and include apprentice wage agreements, that partially funded by DHS; from the apprentice who is required to complete formal professional development (ECETP CDA) and, on- the-job learning hours to meet defined benchmarks; the mentor, who will engage in professional development and technical assistance to gain leadership skills to  actively monitor and support the apprentice. Read more about the use of the PDG B-5 grant by reading "PDG Pathways" on the Quality Initiatives page.