Since 2007, the Ohio Child Care Resource & Referral Association (OCCRRA) has been the state’s workforce registry and learning management system for early care and learning professionals. OCCRRA provides professional development and technical assistance to early childhood and K-12 professionals, along with support to parents and the community.
The Ohio Professional Registry (OPR) is Ohio’s workforce registry information system. It captures data about early childhood and K-12 professionals in a variety of roles and settings and serves as a comprehensive data repository for employment, professional development, education and credentials. OCCRRA created the Workforce and Program Analysis Platform (WPAP), which converts OPR data and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services records into anonymized, aggregated dashboards. The dashboards allow for the review and analysis of workforce and program turnover, churn, and retention in early childhood education across multiple variables.
In December 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. On May 17, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 109, which allowed these funds to be used to support verified early childhood professionals. As a result, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) instituted Hero Pay, which provides bonuses of up to $3,000 to eligible child care professionals.
WPAP was able to demonstrate that Hero Pay correlated with greater retention of participating early learning providers. Most states and the District of Columbia require enrollment in a registry for anyone participating in federal or state-subsidized programs or services (i.e. TEACH, WAGE$, QRIS, Scholarship, Apprenticeship, etc.). Ohio, among others, relied on workforce registries to support ECE compensation efforts.
OCCRRA 2022 Annual Report (2022). Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association.
Powerful ECE Registry Data is Key to Informing Workforce Compensation Policy and Strategies. (2022). National Workforce Registry Alliance.
Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:
Learn more about ELS@H Findings
Strong infrastructure and systems – including governance structures and data systems – are key aspects of high-quality early education and care. And research suggests there is a need for more accessible, affordable, and high-quality early education within a mixed-delivery system; strengthening infrastructure and systems is one important way states and cities can take action to address these needs and accomplish these goals.
Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) that connect to the need for more robust infrastructure and systems, including data systems:
- Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
- But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.
- No one early education setting type is inherently of higher quality than another; children develop and learn well in every setting type, and in the study, all setting types showed room to grow in quality.
- We have learned a great deal from this groundbreaking, large-scale study. Nevertheless, there is still much to learn about what children, families, and educators need, and about what “works” – for whom and under what circumstances – across all the diverse settings where young children learn and grow.