Founded in October of 2009 by a small group of state professional development registries, the “National Registry Alliance’s” initial purpose was to support states in joining efforts building state-of-the-art registries, thereby supporting the education and professional development of the early care and education workforce. The overarching objective was to improve outcomes for children, by better supporting professionals through the professional development registry.

The name of the collaboration changed in 2014 to National Workforce Registry Alliance. This evolution mirrored the growth of registries and their potential for providing critical information needed to inform policy decisions at the local, state, and national levels. In the years that followed, the community was generally referred to as “The Alliance” for short. Today, to avoid confusion with similarly named national entities, the organization goes by the acronym NWRA.

Over the past 10 years, the state membership in the NWRA has grown to 44 registries. Additionally we have vested partner groups who join to further support the work in this community, such as the 20 recognized training organizations, several software corporations, and a number of national non-profit and foundational allies.

Registry efforts have expanded to encompass more than two dozen supporting functions. User roles in professional registries have become more diverse, training and trainer approval occurs in most state registries now, and professional development guidance/access is appropriate to both the early care and education and out-of-school-time workforce. While registries and the NWRA have grown substantially in the past decade, one thing hasn’t, the overarching vision to strengthen and deliver high-quality, well-coordinated, verified, accessible career development systems that promote a well-prepared, adequately supported, and justly compensated early childhood and school-age workforce.

A Professional Development System (PDS) is an interdependent network of elements supporting workforce development. The Professional Registries contribute to PDSs by:

Workforce Access, Outreach and Engagement efforts. They are the only entity that, when we need to find and reach providers, can do this for the people who care for children and not buildings care occurs in.  Acting in an advising capacity, registries provide access to competency self-assessments, training calendars, mentoring programs, and connect the workforce to available support services. recognizing core knowledge areas, education, while guiding professional growth and development in the field.
Contribute to quality care and professional preparedness by ensuring high-quality learning occurs. They do this by holding standards for training/trainer/training organization approval that include cross-walking learning against aligned core knowledge areas. Most registry systems approve training, trainers, and training organizations.
They illuminate and help place professionals along a spectrum in state career pathways; they also support the workforce in navigating that framework for relevant, recognized professional development opportunities and advancement.
Helping individuals advance in their career pathway placement and qualifications by providing tools for identifying professional support in meeting competencies and mapping education and training that culminates in related credentials, certificates, or diplomas.
Recognizing and honoring professional achievements and needs of the early learning workforce and connecting data about them to policymakers, researchers, advocates, and partners to better support data-informed decision-making.
•Many also provide the delivery infrastructure that acts as a vehicle for recruitment and retention providing support such as scholarships, direct stipends, compensation initiatives, and tiered reimbursements.


A small group of registries founded and incorporated the NWRA in 2009.


We became a 501(c)(3) recognized non-profit in October of 2011.


Originally called the National Registry Alliance, the word “Workforce” was added to the name in 2014.


There are now 46 state or regions which have or are developing registries who are members of the Alliance.

Current Members

We also have non-profits, government agencies, and corporations who are members.

Recognized Registries

In 2021, there were 17 state registries that met quality standards and criteria for workforce data collection.

Training Organization Recognition

Founded in 2017, today nearly two dozen National Training Organizations have applied for recognition for having met quality criteria for streamlined state approval.

The State of Registries

To date, there have been three landscape surveys conducted to aggregate the functions registries perform and help document their growth. The results of these surveys are reports and presentations used to help develop our network, provide guiding resources, and connect states with peers who have similar stages of growth, developmental needs, or goals. In 2020 five functional domains were categorized to help illustrate registry developments and capabilities.

  1. Workforce Engagement & Support
  2. Professional Development System Infrastructure
  3. Support Child Care Licensing
  4. Contribute to Quality
  5. Collect Workforce Data

High-Level Contributions:

  • Lead Teacher Approval was performed in 23 of 36 responding registries
  • Director Approval was occurring in 26 of 35 responding registries
  • 17 registries reported registry participation was a criterion for Child Care Licensing compliance; 8 indicated regulations included consequences for non-compliance.

Registry Landscape 2020:

  • 64% (29) verified employment
  • 80% (36) verified education
  • 83% (37) reported collecting some provider data
  • 36% (16) registries provided Core Competency Self-Assessments
  • 45% (20) offered Professional Development Planning Tools
  • 25% (11) states had aligned the C.C. Self-Assessment to the P.D. Planning Tools
  • 71% (32) were managing Scholarships
  • 31% (14) had Compensation Programs
  • 16% (7) offered Resume Builders
  • 25% (11) had Job Boards
  • 53% (24) provided Training Calendars
  • 58% (26) had Learning Management Systems (online modules)

2009 State of Registries:

  • 23 questions
  • 31 states completed the survey
  • 24 had fully functioning registries
  • 24 were collecting provider data
  • The majority were housed in Institutions of Higher Education (37%), next were non-profits (21%), the rest were in State Departments and CCRRs (17% each, respectively).

2012 State of Registries:

  • 83 questions
  • 45 states invited
  • 34 states completed the survey
  • 38 actively operating a registry, 7 were planning
  • 91% were statewide
  • Primarily located in Institutions of Higher Ed (31%), followed by State Departments (21%), and CCRRs/Non-Profits (18/15%).

2020 State of Registries:

  • 129 questions
  • 50 states and DC invited to participate
  • 44 states and DC completed
  • 47 states and DC reported they have an ECE Registry
  • 17 states meet NWRA quality criteria and standards
  • 28 states required participation for some portion of the workforce
  • 17 states required participation for Child Care Licensing
  • Almost evenly distributed across State Departments (34%), Institutions of Higher Ed (30%), and Non-Profits (30%). Just 5% reported they were located in a CCRR.

2023 State of Registries:

  • 81 questions
  • 50 states, 2 territories and DC invited to participate
  • 45 states and DC completed
  • 45 states and DC reported they have an ECE Registry, 3 reported building a registry
  • 18 states meet NWRA quality criteria and standards
  • 37 states required participation for some portion of the workforce
  • 24 states required participation for Child Care Licensing
  • Administered primarily in State Departments (44%), Institutions of Higher Ed (26 %), and Non-Profits (23%). About 5 % are administered by other types of organization and only 2% through a CRR&R.

In 2012, the organization developed a set of “Core Data Elements” for Early Childhood and School-Age Registries and the “Partnership Eligibility Review,” which became the NWRA’s quality assurance and registry peer recognition process. The Core Data Elements formed the basis of the Partnership Eligibility Review (PER) process.

With PER, a regional or state registry undergo a self-study and peer review to ensure alignment of core data elements, data verification, and standard operating policies and processes recommended by the NWRA. Successful completion of the process enables a state registry to participate in data-sharing efforts with other national organizations. State registries meeting all the requirements are able to provide other national member organizations with training records from a single source, which are accepted by the National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC), for example, in their accreditation process. NWRA member registries that meet PER standards enabled nine states and/or regions to contribute to the first Workforce Data Set in 2012. These data were pooled and analyzed with high reliability; providing valuable information to the field.

Annual PER Data Reports occurred in 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021. The summaries of these analyses can be found on our website. In 10 years, the NWRA Workforce Dataset has grown by over 700%!

*Current data does not reflect an additional 9 states who have high saturation due to requirements for registry participation in their state’s childcare licensing, but the registry has not yet completed the self-study, demonstrating they meet NWRA standards for quality to contribute data. This suggests the workforce data reach in the near future could as much as double in reporting. We are aiming for 23 states contributing data in 2023.

PER Data, the workforce, by the numbers:


9 registries contributing data from January 1, 2010, through March 1, 2012, and included individual records from 58,398 professionals (49,740 of whom were currently employed) working across 12,050 programs/facilities.


9 registries contributing data from January 1, 2013, through January 1, 2015, and includes individual records from 123,680 professionals (111,082 of whom were currently employed) working across 22,822 programs and facilities.


11 of 11 eligible registries contributing data from January 1, 2015, through March 1, 2017, and includes individual records from 172,870 professionals (158,386 of whom were currently employed) working across 28,214 programs/facilities.


14 of 15 eligible registries contributing data from January 1, 2017, through March 1, 2019, and includes individual records from 398,986 professionals (337,551 of whom were currently employed) working across 63,306 programs/facilities. Six participating states had mandatory registry participation for most of the workforce.


14 of 17 eligible registries contributing data from January 1, 2019, through January 1, 2021, and includes individual records from 466,115 professionals (356,206 of whom were employed) working across 64,237 programs/facilities. Seven participating states had mandatory registry participation for most of the workforce.


Our national goal is to help 6 more states obtain PER recognition so they can contribute their registry data. Our potential reach in 2023 could be upwards of 800,000 members of the workforce!
Help us ensure every provider is seen and counts; get PER recognized and include your workforce in the national picture!