March 21, 2023

Supporting Our Workforce: Child Care in Westmoreland County

The Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce will host this half-day summit to discuss the current state of child care for working families in Westmoreland County.

Panel discussions will highlight the current challenges facing the child care sector and the implications for working families trying to find and afford care; the impact of limited child care options on area businesses; and potential solutions to increase the availability of high-quality care and stabilize the child care sector.

Breakfast will be provided.

Event Details

Thursday, April 20 | 8 – 11 a.m.

Westmoreland Community College
145 Pavilion Lane
Youngwood, PA 15697


Learn More

This event is being held in partnership with:

To learn more, visit the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce website or view the event flyer.


February 8, 2022

Pittsburgh Mayor Schedules Community Forums

City of Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey’s transition organization announced a series of community meetings, an online engagement portal, and a resident input message center that will allow residents to provide input to help guide the work and policy recommendations of the transition committees. One meeting will focus on education and workforce development.


According to a news release, the meetings, online portal, and message center aim to provide an opportunity to capture and empower the diverse voices of communities across the city.

Residents will be able to weigh in on some of the city’s most pressing issues including equitable development, education and workforce development, infrastructure and environment, and community health and safety.

Meetings Schedule

The schedule of community meetings is as follows:

  • Equitable Development – Monday, February 21, 2022 at 6 p.m.
  • Education and Workforce Development – Wednesday, February 23, 2022 at 6 p.m.
  • Community Health and Safety – Monday, February 28, 2022 at 6 p.m.
  • Infrastructure and Environment – Wednesday, March 2, 2022 at 6 p.m.

All of the community forums will take place virtually. All citizens interested in participating are asked to register through the online portal designed to accommodate multi-lingual residents.

Residents who may not have access to technology to participate in online events are invited to call 412.267.7592 and leave a voice message in their primary language to share their ideas. Messages will be transcribed and shared with the transition committees. All community organizations and community advocacy groups are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas on these platforms and via community meetings.

The portal also includes a survey that will be updated every two weeks, and an “idea wall” where residents will have the ability to submit ideas through March 15, 2022.

More Information

For more information, view the full news release or visit Mayor Gainey’s transition website.


November 20, 2020

Tuition-Free Courses Available for ECE Professionals

Are you an early learning professional who is interested in earning an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, or Child Development Certificate? No- and low-cost options are available for eligible professionals in Pennsylvania through the Professional Development Organization (PDO).

Professional Development Organization

The Professional Development Organization (PDO) is a grant-funded educational collaboration among four universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and numerous partner universities, colleges, and community programs across the state to advance the career pathways of the early childhood workforce. PDO funding covers tuition, expenses, and other supports to help eligible early childhood educators earn credit-bearing credentials and degrees.

Tuition-Free Courses

Tuition-free courses are eligible for early childhood professionals who:

    • are Pennsylvania residents,
    • work in a Keystone STARS program, and
    • work a minimum average of 25 hours per week over an entire work year (during non-COVID times).

To determine your eligibility, complete the online application. Once your eligibility is confirmed, a PDO Liaison from your region will contact you to discuss your professional development options.

Available Pathways

The following pathways are available to advance your academic and professional development:

    • Child Development Associate Certificate (CDA)
    • Associate’s Degree, Early Childhood Education
    • Bachelor’s Degree, Early Childhood Education

Steps To Take

If you are interested in taking advantage of this limited-time opportunity, complete these three steps:

    • Apply for Tuition Assistance 

      Complete the application. Once submitted, an ECE Liaison will contact you to confirm your eligibility for tuition assistance, guide you through the application at a PDO partner university, college, or program, and help you register for classes. Be sure to check your spam folder as it may contain an email from your ECE Liaison.

    • Register for Classes 

      Class offerings at all schools and programs may change each semester. Check with an ECE Liaison or the school for details. View this document for examples of available classes.

More Information

For more information, contact Mimi Loughead at

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June 4, 2020

Executive Level Roundtable Series

Join APOST, Connections 4 Success, and Davis & Associates from June to August 2020 for a six-part Executive Roundtable Series.


The Executive Roundtable Series features next-steps and best practices to respond appropriately to recent industry disruptions due to COVID-19. The primary focus is to engage in meaningful dialog and share tips that help executive leaders to adapt and modify their business operations to recover and progress their organizations from survival to recovery to growth.

Available Sessions

More Information

For more information, please contact APOST at 412.456.6876.

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February 7, 2020

2020-21 Pennsylvania Budget Proposal Response

On February 5, during his 2020-2021 budget proposal address, Governor Tom Wolf dared us to imagine a Pennsylvania where no one is denied the chance to work because they can’t find child care. A Pennsylvania where high-quality child care is accessible and affordable. A Pennsylvania where child care rates are stabilized and child care providers are incentivized. Trying Together belives in that dream, but the budget proposal itself offers no new state investments to make these dreams a reality.


While the 2020-21 budget proposal offered increased state investments in early childhood programs like pre-k and home-visiting, it’s missing state investments for something that affects the lives of every parent and caregiver in Pennsylvania: child care. Early Learning PA highlights this issue in their recent press release, stating, “Given that 70 percent of Pennsylvania children under the age of five have all adults in their household in the labor force, high-quality child care is an essential workforce support.” However, due to high prices and limited child care slots, many families across the Commonwealth are not able to afford or access high-quality child care programs.

Early Learning PA continues on, stating, “Although the Governor’s budget proposal utilizes $15.3 million in federal funding toward child care subsidy base rates, this proposal will have no impact in addressing the list of children waiting to gain access to subsidized care or improve the quality of that care.” This, in turn, affects each caregiver’s ability to enter, re-enter, or remain in the workforce and the long-term academic, career, and health outcomes of young children. In Pennsylvania, 73 percent of eligible children under the age of five are not receiving high-quality child care services.

Interestingly, the lack of state investment is also a lack of response to the Governor’s own Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center report, just released last week identifying barriers to employment and providing recommendations for action by the governor, Pennsylvania General Assembly, and private sector. In the report, increasing access to affordable high-quality child care was a top priority for all three.

Take Action

The lack of state investments in child care isn’t only something worth talking about, it’s also an issue that worthy of advocacy. Join us as an advocate by sending a message urging the General Assembly to demonstrate their commitment to Pennsylvania’s youngest children, their families, and our economy by increasing state funding for high-quality child care! Our senators and representatives will need to hear from us through budget negotiations, and our message starts now.

Join us if you believe that all children in Pennsylvania deserve to start strong!


November 13, 2019

Investments in Early Childhood Support Workforce Readiness

On November 12, 2019, Governor Tom Wolf joined Pennsylvania’s Adjutant General Major General Anthony Carrelli and retired generals and admirals from Mission: Readiness to release the nonprofit organization’s workforce readiness report. The report outlines how competition for qualified individuals among all employment sectors affects military recruiting efforts and warrants greater investment in our next generation.


In their report, Mission: Readiness identifies research-based solutions to improve the health and education of young adults with the goal of making them more likely to successfully contribute to America’s workforce, including military service if they so choose. With this, they document wins for Pennsylvanians that Mission: Readiness supported in the areas of early childhood education; equitable and adequate K-12 education funding; and youth fitness and nutrition.

Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Ralph Jodice spoke out on the importance of early childhood, stating, “Research is clear that brain development from birth to age five sets the foundation for children’s future success. High-quality child care and early education programs like pre-k set the stage for readiness by improving children’s cognitive ability, health, and behavior throughout life.

Governor Wolf spoke on his support of early childhood investments, stating that he is “committed to making investments in education at all ages to help ensure we provide Pennsylvanians with the skills needed for every open job,” including open positions with Pennsylvania National Guard and all branches of the military. Building on this statement, Governor Wolf said that “we owe it to the men and women currently serving in the Pennsylvania National Guard and all branches of the military to give them the best possible future troops. That means ensuring we’re providing the best education possible to potential enlistees, starting at the earliest ages, when children learn quickly and eagerly.”

What You Can Do

Every child deserves an equal opportunity to a quality educational foundation that will prepare them to grow, learn, and succeed. That’s why Trying Together participates in multiple advocacy campaigns, including Pre-K for PA and Start Strong PA. Will you join us?

    • Join Pre-K for PA and advocate for high-quality pre-k access for every 3- and 4-year old in Pennsylvania.
    • Join Start Strong PA and advocate for all young children in Pennsylvania to have access to high-quality child care programs that their families can afford.

Visit our Take Action page to learn more!

More Information

For access to the video and full press release, visit the PAcast website.


November 6, 2019

T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Spring 2020 Deadline

Early childhood education professionals interested in attending college for the spring semester (beginning January 2020) can submit applications to receive a T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education And Compensation Helps) scholarship.


The Pennsylvania Child Care Association (PACCA) offers a variety of T.E.A.C.H. scholarships to meet the needs of the early care and education workforce in center and home-based settings. Eligible applicants must:

    • work a minimum of 25-30 hours per week directly with children in a DHS-certified child care program;
    • make $19 or less an hour ($25 or less per hour for directors);
    • be interested in pursuing coursework at a participating college toward a degree or credential in early childhood; and
    • Bachelor’s degree applicants must meet additional eligibility criteria, which includes having at least 55 transferable credits towards a degree in Early Childhood Education or equivalent.

Scholarship awards are dependent upon the availability of funds and priorities of funders. See the brochure.

Application Details

To be considered for the Spring 2020 semester, T.E.A.C.H. applications must be completed and submitted with all required documentation by Friday, November 15, 2019. PACCA will continue to accept applications on an ongoing basis, however, incomplete applications and applications received after this date will not receive priority for consideration. New scholarship awards for the Spring 2020 semester will be dependent upon funding availability at that time.

Interested applicants should also begin the college admissions process now and contact an early childhood education advisor at their intended college/university.  This helps to ensure that scholarship applicants are admitted to their college/university and can register for courses if/when they receive a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship. T.E.A.C.H. can provide contact information for early childhood education advisors at partnering institutions if needed.

Click here to download a scholarship application.

More Information

To learn more, visit the PACCA website.

For questions, contact a T.E.A.C.H. Counselor at 717-657-9000 or

*Information provided by PACCA


October 2, 2019

Governor Wolf Releases Report on Infant Toddler Support

Governor Tom Wolf released a report detailing seven Ready to Start Task Force priorities that were developed to better support the long-term success of infants, toddlers, and families in Pennsylvania.

Ready to Start Task Force

The Governor’s Ready to Start Task Force was created in September 2018 to “develop a framework of strategies to address health, human services, and education policy for infants and toddlers ages birth to three in Pennsylvania.” Led by six Governor-appointed co-chairs, the Task Force facilitated “six regional roundtable listening sessions with members of the Administration and approximately 150 stakeholders who represent early care and education providers, health care practitioners, research organizations, workforce development, state and local government, foundations, employers, postsecondary educators, and community-based organizations.”

At these sessions, stakeholders responded to three key questions on family and child health, home environments, and future school success. The Governor also provided an online feedback form to receive ideas and thoughts from the community. Through these methods, the Task Force identified a list of key themes and findings, from which the four-year framework report was created.


Governor’s Ready to Start Task Force: A Four-Year Framework to Support Pennsylvania’s Infants and Toddlers” lists seven key priorities, all of which include specific goals that guide Pennsylvania “to a stronger future for the Commonwealth’s infants, toddlers, and their families.”

    • Increase the Availability of High-Quality Child Care and Home Visiting Service Slots
    • Improve Early Intervention Quality and Streamlining to Enhance Availablity, Alignment, Integration, and Coordination of Services
    • Increase Recruitment, Retention, Development, Support, and Training of Early Childhood Education Professionals
    • Better Utilize Medicaid, CHIP, and State Regulatory Powers to Address the Risks to Infants and Toddlers Posed by Harmful Environmental Contaminants
    • Promote Education, Engagement, and Support of Parents and Families as Children’s First Teachers
    • Improve Information, Outreach, and Access to Services
    • Promote Sustainable Systems of Care to Support the Health and Wellbeing of All Children and Women of Child-Bearing Age

Next Steps

Moving forward, Governor Wolf will “establish a cross-sector ‘Ready to Start’ Workgroup comprised of agency and external stakeholders that will be responsible for establishing measurable goals and ensuring progress on the framework priorities and recommendations.” Meeting monthly, the Workgroup will engage with other state groups in fields that intersect with the priorities.

Learn More

To learn more, read the full report.

*Information provided by the Office of Governor Tom Wolf


August 9, 2019

Power to the Profession Task Force Seeks Feedback

The Power to the Profession (P2P) National Task Force recently shared their next decision cycle draft, encouraging review and response. These Decision Cycles address the resources, infrastructure, and accountability structures needed across states and systems to support a prepared, diverse, well-compensated early childhood education profession. The draft is available in English and Spanish.

About the Task Force

The Power to the Profession (P2P) Task Force, in collaboration with thousands of educators, individual stakeholders, and partner organizations, is working toward a bold and audacious vision for a unified early childhood education profession. This profession will have clear roles and responsibilities, professional cohesion, and commensurate compensation. This will ensure every child, beginning at birth, has the opportunity to benefit from high-quality early childhood education, delivered by an effective, diverse, well-prepared, and well-compensated workforce.

Read the Decision Cycles 7+8 Discussion Draft.

Provide Your Feedback

Feedback will be accepted through September 13, 2019, and should be submitted via the online survey. Additional written comments can be submitted via email at

More Information

For questions, review the updated P2P Frequently Asked Questions. Community members are also invited to sign up for Virtual Office Hours to ask questions, give feedback, or explore how you can build on your work to advance the early childhood education profession.

*Information provided by the P2P Task Force


April 10, 2019

Child Care Woes: The Push to Expand Access

In a recent article published online by the Christian Science Monitor (CSM), Trying Together Executive Director Cara Ciminillo discussed parent’s “constant hustle” in relation to providing and identifying high-quality care for their young children.


In the article, staff writer Sara Miller Llana brings in the story of Dana Hunter, a full-time employee and mother living in Pittsburgh. In this, Ms. Hunter describes the challenging balancing act of providing primary care for her young children while managing the workload and time requirements of full-time employment. Trying Together Cara Ciminillo mentions, “It’s a constant hustle. It’s a constant piecing together and juggling of demands and priorities.”

After sharing this story, the article later goes on to explain the growing support for pre-k, calling on evidence that access to early education not only supports the healthy development of young children but also supports caregivers’ return to the workforce. Although political figures are calling for increased access to early care and education, supported by the successful implementation of such programs in other countries, “affordable, quality child care still remains out of reach for many families, with women often shouldering the bulk of domestic management.”


Read the full article to learn more about Pennsylvania’s push to expand access to child care.