November 11, 2021

Earn an ECE Degree at No or Low Cost

Are you looking to earn an early childhood degree or credential at low or no cost? The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Apprenticeship Program can help. Interested applicants should fill out the Apprenticeship Interest Form.

What is the ECE Apprenticeship Program?

The ECE Apprenticeship Program is a learn-as-you-earn career pathway that helps early learning professionals in Allegheny County earn a CDA Credential or Associate’s Degree while maintaining employment at an early learning program. The program is employer-driven and flexible in meeting Apprentices’ needs.

Apprentices choose courses based on what fits in their lives and schedules and are matched with a skilled Coach who offers additional guidance, structure, and support. Join us to advance your career and elevate the important work of early childhood.

How is the program structured?

The program includes two main elements:

Most courses are offered through a synchronous model like Zoom or an asynchronous model like an online class or platform. However, in-person classes will be available in Fall 2021. Apprentices decide which learning format works best for their learning needs and schedules.

What does the program hope to achieve?

The program offers continuing education opportunities to early childhood educators and encourages a community of learning by building relationships between Apprentices and Coaches. Research shows that having well-educated, well-compensated, and supported early childhood educators:

  • reduces turnover in the field,
  • positively impacts work climates, and
  • creates a diverse, skilled workforce that is able to serve children of a variety of needs and backgrounds and work with families as partners in their child’s early education.

To support the healthy development of children and families, Pennsylvania must support the education, retention, and career advancement of professionals in the early childhood field. This program offers a pathway to do that.

Who is the ideal candidate?

This program is ideal for child care staff in Allegheny County who are looking to continue their education in early childhood or child development at low or no cost. Employers will be responsible for supporting Apprentices and Coaches in their work.

Become an Apprentice

Interested applicants should fill out the Apprenticeship Interest Form. For more information or to ask a question, contact Lindsey Vicoria at and Jasmine Davis at

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cost to participate?

The program provides education and materials to professionals at no or low cost. It depends on what funding is available to support the purchase of textbooks, coursework, and other materials.

What does a typical week look like?

During a typical week, Apprentices continue the important work they do with children and families at their child care center and attend class one day per week (typically at night). Apprentices also meet with a skilled Coach one night per week to talk about the coursework and how the educator will implement what they learned into their classroom.

Can I receive credit for courses I completed in the past?

Yes! Our friends at CCAC do a great job at pulling any credit hours they can for our Apprentices (even if those credit hours were earned several years ago in a different field of study). This reduces the time Apprentices spend in school to meet their required credit hours.

What do Apprentices complete?

Apprentices sit through an initial orientation to hear program details, discuss professionalism, and build relationships with program staff and other Apprentices. From there, professionals will register for and complete courses through CCAC and complete on-the-job learning hours in their center.

CDA-Level Apprentices complete 2,000 on-the-job learning hours in their center, which is very manageable throughout the course of their coursework. Associate’s-Level Apprentices complete 4,000 on-the-job learning hours in their center.

How does this tie into NAEYC’s Professional Standards and Competencies?

The program also focuses on helping professionals achieve NAEYC’s Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators. Our Coaches meet with Apprentices to discuss what they are accomplishing in the classroom, set professional goals, and mark when the Apprentice accomplishes a goal/competency.

How did this program get started?

Sponsored through the 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund, the ECE Apprenticeship Program was designed to streamline a career pathway for educators and reduce barriers to higher education (financial challenges, time responsibilities, etc.). Whether an early learning professional is looking to obtain a CDA Credential or Associate’s Degree, this program was created to help.

How is this program unique?

The ECE Apprenticeship Program is the only registered apprenticeship opportunity in Southwestern Pennsylvania that provides an Associate’s Degree track in early childhood education. Our program is also early childhood focused, which is still a very new thing in Pennsylvania.

What is Trying Together’s role? Who are the partners?

Trying Together uses our amazing network of child care providers to complete the early childhood work, provide professional development, and oversee the general operations of the program. We have partners at Partner4Work, which is a workforce development agency in the Pittsburgh area, and Literacy Pittsburgh, which offers resources to our students, including tutoring and additional support. Our partners at CCAC provide all of the coursework.

More Information

Interested applicants should fill out the Apprenticeship Interest Form. For more information or to ask a question, contact Lindsey Vicoria at and Jasmine Davis at

To stay up to date on the latest news and opportunities, sign up to receive Trying Together’s newsletter or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.


February 3, 2021

Empowering the ECE Workforce with Apprenticeship

Are you interested in learning strategies to empower early learning professionals through workforce development? Join Trying Together on Wednesday, March 3 for our free virtual course, “Connections and Conversations: Empowering the ECE Workforce with Apprenticeship.” PQAS credit available.


Connections and Conversations Virtual Check-Ins are interactive sessions that highlight topics of interest to the field of early childhood education. Participants will engage in virtual discussions via Zoom with child development experts while interacting with early learning practitioners to share questions, experiences, and expertise about the highlighted topic.

During this session, participants will engage with experts and educators about “The Power of the Profession” as well as dive into some strategies of empowering the Early Childhood Workforce. Participants will connect about the importance of workforce development in the early childhood field including degree attainment, credentials, and apprenticeship.

Session Details

    • Session Date: Wednesday, March 3, 2021  |  6:00 – 7:00 p.m
    • Instructors: Lindsey Vicoria
    • Core Knowledge Area: K6.5 C1 – Participate, as a lifelong learner, in opportunities for professional development and growth at the local, state, and national level through a variety of means.


To register, complete the online registration form. Registration closes on Monday, March 1, 2021, at 5 p.m. Space is limited.

Session Rules and Guidelines

These virtual discussions are designed to provide educators the opportunity to grow professionally and share knowledge on early childhood topics. During the meeting, participants should follow the guidelines below to ensure a successful virtual meeting for all participants.

    • Please allow all participants a chance to speak. Listen respectfully and actively.
    • Commit to learning about each other, not to debating the topic.
    • Embrace differences of opinion as healthy and support each person’s authentic self-expression.
    • Participants will be muted for the beginning portion of the session.
    • Participants may use the “Raise Hand” feature in Zoom to request an opportunity to comment or ask a question. Individuals will be temporarily unmuted by the moderator.
    • Participants may type a comment or question in the Chat or may send comments or questions directly to the moderator for them to share.
    • To receive PQAS credit, you must complete an evaluation at the end of the session and include your PD Registry number.
    • Have fun, make connections, and engage in the conversations!

More Information

For questions or more information, contact Jasmine Davis at


January 13, 2021

Apprenticeship Opportunity Available In Pennsylvania

Are you an early learning professional in Southwestern Pennsylvania who is interested in earning higher wages or advancing your career? Apprenticeship might be right for you!



As an employer-driven program registered with the state of Pennsylvania, Apprenticeship combines on-the-job learning with related technical instruction to build skills and create pathways to earning a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, Associate’s Degree, or Bachelor’s Degree through partners at Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) and Carlow University.

Request More Information

Apprenticeship is accepting new apprentices for the 2021 Spring and Summer semesters. For more information, contact:


November 26, 2019

Professional Development Catalog


For more than 55 years, Trying Together has supported the work of early childhood with a dedication to making sure every caregiver feels valued. In pursuit of this vision, Trying Together delivers professional growth services that connect with high-quality early childhood practices.

Our Professional Development Catalog

To view a list of Trying Together’s professional growth services, see our Professional Development Catalog (PDF). Course focus areas include Inclusion, Play, Interactions, Leadership, and Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP).

See Our Upcoming Courses

Visit Our Course Calendar

To register for our upcoming courses, visit Trying Together’s Courses page.

Request a Custom Course

You can request a customized offering by submitting the online Request for Professional Services Form. Customized courses can be created to meet individual or group goals, interests, and needs. All custom course requests must be submitted at least four weeks prior to the desired course start date.

To view custom course fees, see our Professional Development Fee for Service document (PDF).

PD Credit, Standards, and Competencies

All of our courses are instructed by a certified PQAS instructor and are ACT 48 approved. We strive to ensure that all of our courses align with:

    • Pennsylvania Core Knowledge Competencies,
    • NAEYC Standards,
    • Danielson Framework, and
    • Keystone STARS performance standards.

To best meet the needs of each professional growth content request, Trying Together may draw on an External Instructor’s expertise.

COVID-19 Restrictions

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trying Together has suspended in-person professional growth sessions until October 2021. At this time, only virtual and online sessions are available. Starting October, both in-person and virtual opportunities will be available to interested professionals.

More Information

For more information, contact Allison Hritz at To receive updates, sign up to receive our newsletter or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.


April 3, 2019

PAsmart Announces Grant Awardees

In February 2019, Governor Tom Wolf announced funding for PAsmart Apprenticeship and Next Generation Industry Partnerships grants which will connect Pennsylvanians with the information needed to succeed in our evolving economy.

About PAsmart

PAsmart is focused on ensuring Pennsylvania students and workers have the skills and abilities to meet the economic needs of the 21st century. This initiative aims to do this by expanding access to STEM education in Pennsylvania schools, embracing the Next Generation Industry Partnership model, and creating the Apprenticeship and Training Office to increase apprenticeship opportunities within a variety of industries.

OCDEL’s Role

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning supports the efforts of PA’s Department of Labor and Industry and is working with them to professionalize the early education field. Efforts include increasing access to a career pathway that results in stackable, portable credentials, and providing relevant, developmentally and culturally appropriate content to support educators working with young children to advance their individual career and education progression.

Organization Grantees

The following organizations will be supported through PAsmart funds:

  • 1100c Training and Upgrading Fund: Will expand their apprenticeship model in Southeastern Pennsylvania
  • Partner4Work: Will establish a regional hub for Early Childhood Education registered apprenticeships in the Pittsburgh Metro Area
  • Keystone University: Will partner with Lackawanna Trail High School, Luzerne County Community College, and Wilkes University to build an Early Childhood Education (ECE) pipeline through a competency-based apprenticeship that leads to an entry-level ECE credential
  • Shippensburg University: Will design curriculum and develop advanced competencies to expand the Philadelphia ECE apprenticeship to four-year programs
  • Arcadia University: Will expand their RA program for ECE
  • First Up and its partners: Will expand upon apprenticeship supports and program to provide career paths in ECE

Learn More

For more information, visit

* Information provided by OCDEL’s PA Early Ed Newsletter