Turn ARPA funds into educational scholarships.

Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. is a new opportunity for states that have an interest in supporting the workforce through the American Rescue Plan Act to implement a short-to-long term early childhood workforce stabilization strategy.


Since 1990, Child Care Services Association (CCSA) has administered the T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education And Compensation Helps) Early Childhood® program as a comprehensive national strategy that helps address the need for a well-qualified, fairly compensated and stable workforce. Acting on behalf of CCSA, the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center (Center) is excited to engage in a modified process to launch Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. in states that have an interest in using designated funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to implement a short- to long-term workforce stabilization strategy.

Selection Process

The selection process for identifying a prospective Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. administrative home will be state-driven based on adherence to the following guidelines:

  • Each state will self-select an organization to serve as the administrative home to operate the Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. program;
  • The prospective administrative home will submit a formal application to the Center for review and approval;
  • The Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. application must be accompanied by a two-year funding commitment statement from the funder, letters of support from at least two early care and education-focused organizations and a bound copy of the most recent financial audit; and
  • Signature by an authorized organizational leader on the Memorandum of Agreement.

If an organization is currently licensed by CCSA to administer the Child Care WAGE$® Program in the state, then that organization would also be the administrative home for Step Up to T.E.A.C.H., if a state decides to participate. In this case, a signed Memorandum of Agreement is required.

Contact us for a full application packet.

Selection Criteria

Selection criteria for Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. requires that the administrative home be a highly respected organization within its state. The administrative home MUST:

  • Be currently operating with 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status and be in good standing, financially;
  • Have an existing statewide presence across its early care and education workforce community;
  • Agree to participate in the Center’s Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. administrator orientation and training;
  • Have the capacity to deliver scholarships statewide, regionally or within at least three geographically diverse communities;
  • Have no inherent conflict of interest related to making scholarship awards;
  • Sign a joint Memorandum of Agreement with CCSA which outlines responsibilities for each party;
  • Submit an operational budget that details itemized administrative and direct scholarship costs;
  • Agree to use the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® database and adhere to the specific database agreement;
  • Describe and attest to its capacity for having an adequate infrastructure that includes program operations and fiscal and IT support;
  • Implement Center-approved cost sharing scholarship models that support CDA Credential Assessment and/or associate and bachelor level degree coursework, leading to degree attainment or licensure; and
  • Accept the Center’s guidance for the recruitment of scholarship counselor and program administrator positions.

The Role of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center

The collaborative relationship between the T.E.A.C.H. National Center and the Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. administrative home is vital. The Center will provide a package of “off the shelf” resources to assist the administrative home with its launch of Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. In order to support personnel costs, the Center will charge a start-up fee to the administrative home. In exchange for the start-up fee, the administrative home will receive:

  • T.E.A.C.H. database and consultation;
  • Programmatic technical assistance; and
  • Templates of essential materials needed to launch the Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. program (scholarship application, a sample promotional brochure, a generic policy and procedural manual, a sample outreach plan, an evaluation tool and an approved logo).

Additional or intensive, targeted technical assistance that extends beyond the initial start-up phase will have a separate fee structure.

The Center provides guidelines to administrative homes that are geared toward the development of internal systems for quality control and programmatic oversight, combined with external accountability measures.

  • Organizations serving as administrative homes for Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. will submit quarterly reports to the Center.
  • Each organization’s T.E.A.C.H. database will be assessed periodically based on the Center’s schedule.
  • The performance of the Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. scholarship program will be virtually monitored by the Center through scheduled check-ins with the administrative team. As part of that process, the Center will learn about the current status of the program’s efforts to:
    • Cultivate and maintain its relationships with higher education institutions;
    • Implement and promote approved T.E.A.C.H. scholarship program models through outreach activities;
    • Survey and evaluate the satisfaction of scholarship recipients and sponsors;
    • Maintain recipient database records and track scholarship related activities;
    • Orient and supervise program staff;
    • Recruit and engage advisory committee members; and
    • Engage with leading system partners around issues related to workforce education, compensation and retention.
  • The Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. program will be formally monitored at the 18-month point of implementation to ensure that it is on track toward full licensure. After the two- to three-year period within which the ARPA funds must be spent, Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. states will have the option to move onto the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Program and obtain a full license.


What scholarship models will be required in Step Up to T.E.A.C.H.?
Cost sharing scholarship models that could support CDA Credential Assessment and/or associate and bachelor level degree coursework, leading to degree attainment or licensure will be developed with the support of the Center and approved for use with a Step Up program.

Is there flexibility within T.E.A.C.H. to design a comprehensive scholarship without employer-specific commitment?
The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center will work with a state to develop and approve all components of comprehensive scholarship models.

Can you describe the compensation component in T.E.A.C.H.?
All T.E.A.C.H. comprehensive scholarship models include a compensation component that is tied to a specific service commitment to the employer. The compensation component varies across states and is provided annually to recipients when a specified amount of education has been completed. The type and amount of compensation will be configured by each administrative home with approval from the funding entity and the Center.

View all General Step Up FAQs

Start the Process of Bringing Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. to Your State

Download Webinar Slides

Download the Fee Schedule


Interested states should begin planning now and may ask general/preliminary questions of the National Center at any time by emailing Edith Locke.