The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has announced the selection of six regional Professional Development Organizations (PDOs). The PDOs were created to coordinate and facilitate access to credit-bearing coursework and credentials for the Early Childhood Education (ECE) workforce. 
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) was selected for the Philadelphia and Southeast (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties) regions. Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania was selected for the Central, Northeast, Northwest, and Southwest regions. See regional map here .
PDOs will support direct access across each service region for the ECE workforce to participate in continuing education through a mixed delivery model and coordinate with the Early Learning Resource Centers in improving the quality of ECE programs.
OCDEL will redirect $10 million of federal funds to implement a system of professional development that will transform the ECE workforce in each region. The PDOs will work with the Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs) to improve the quality of ECE programs to more effectively educate young children and to meet the specific needs of their region’s ECE workforce through low-to no-cost credit-bearing programs.
The selected applicants began their strategic planning process on Oct. 1, 2019. The PDO will perform a needs assessment by region and develop a strategic plan including a clear project timetable and specific targets for education attainment. The strategic plan must be approved by OCDEL no later than Dec. 31, 2019. Following this planning period, community outreach will begin. 
While Pennsylvania transitions into the new PDO system, early childhood professionals wanting to obtain their Child Development Associate (CDA) can find appropriate credit-bearing coursework through Westmoreland County Community College and Harrisburg Area Community College. Individuals enrolled in these programs might be eligible for help from Rising STARS Tuition Assistance.
For more information on PDOs, the CDA, and Rising STARS Tuition Assistance, visit the PA Key website .