Elevating the Workforce


The challenges and opportunities we face make for ‘interesting times’.  At the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute (Institute) we seek to strengthen and elevate the early childhood workforce.  We’ve built a comprehensive system of workforce development, known as New York Works for Children, and work with city and state agencies, and nationally, to strengthen and create new policy that recognizes the professional nature of the work and the need for supportive workplaces and adequate compensation models.  New York’s first statewide workforce data base known as The Aspire Registry has been implemented and already has 20,000 educators in it –  and will continue to grow every month. QUALITYstarsNY, the state’s quality rating and improvement system, focuses a considerable amount of resources on workforce development in both the classrooms and at the leadership level.  The Institute has created new and dynamic paradigms of professional development that have been successful in building the skills of teachers and leaders.  Developing training and coaching competencies has begun to elevate the field of professional development.  Launching a study of New York’s institutions of higher education at the 2-year, 4-year and graduate level has helped to chart a course for the future. We have made great strides in New York, but there is much to be done.

Since the federal government, through the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services commissioned the Institute of Medicine study, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation (http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2015/Birthto8/BirthtoEight_brief.pdf), much has been developed in the way of supporting material to continue to chart pathways to a stronger workforce.  Our colleagues at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California at Berkeley continue to generate critical information that strengthens our messages and contributes to our policy agenda (http://cscce.berkeley.edu/files/2016/Early-Childhood-Workforce-Index-2016.pdf).

The Institute is active in its work to advocate for stronger policy and significant changes in compensation, while at the same time creating much more robust access to higher education, career and professional development, and quality improvement.

For more information and ways to find support:

  • Please visit the Institute’s website at www.earlychildhoodny.org.
  • Consider visiting the Career Development Services Center (for free career advisement, job search support, certification help and more call for an appointment at 718-254-7353).
  • Join the Aspire Registry for New York’s early childhood workforce  (contact: info@nyworksforchildren.org).
  • QUALITYstarsNY participants receive resources that support career development for site staff.  For information about QUALITYstarsNY, contact: infor@qualitystarsny.org.    
  • The Institute sponsors a credit-bearing CDA (Child Development Associate) Credential.  For financial aid and enrollment information, contact Dana Benzo at 718-254-7353 or cda@earlychildhoodnyc.org.
  • The Institute sponsors a credit-bearing director’s credential, the Children’s Program Administrator’s Credential (CPAC) which is recognized by the state and QUALITYstarsNY.  For information contact 718-254-7353.


Sherry headshot 


  Sherry M. Cleary,

  Executive Director