Registry Name: Arizona Early Childhood Workforce Registry
Professional Development System: Arizona Early Childhood Career and Professional Development Network
Participation status: Mandatory for some staff such as educators working in programs participating in QRIS, those accepting First Things First Funds, staff working in sites involved with CCDBG. All other users are voluntary.
ECE Workforce Population: 39,550 active users
Registry Functions and Professional Supports:
|*Training & PD Transcripts
|*Registration/Payment Services for Training
|*Training Attendance Verification
|*Employment History & Verification
|*Workforce Data Reports
Educate and empower the early childhood community to positively impact the lives of young children in Arizona.
The administrative home of the Early Childhood Registry is a people centered, system thinking organization that works to benefit all involved in the early childhood profession. We educate the ECE system on the benefits of the Early Childhood Workforce Registry and then administer policies and procedures as set by the FTF Standards of Practice for the Registry and the FTF Scholarship Program.
For more information, visit the NWRA’s Registry Membership Profile
Spring 2023 Interview with:
Mark Becker –Associate Director, Arizona PBS Education & Community Impact
Please give us an overview of the workforce registry in your state, who does it serve?
The Arizona Early Childhood Workforce Registry was launched almost nine years ago with funding from First Things First, Arizona’s early childhood agency committed to the healthy development and learning of young children from birth to age 5. Arizona State University was granted the contract to implement the statewide workforce data system to serve all early care and educators given the University’s vast experience managing educational portals. The registry has evolved over the years to become a more robust system offering a variety of professional support to our workforce. Participation in the registry is not yet required in Arizona, except for specific quality initiatives. As more funding is allocated to impact the workforce, implementing agencies are increasingly seeing the value of requiring participation, as they appreciate the having rich data in a centralized location. Since day one, we have continued to advocate for the value of joining the registry and today we see more people increasingly understanding how vital that role is to supporting the early care and educators in Arizona.
Our statewide Arizona registry serves all Early Childhood (ECE) and Out-of-School-Time (OST) professionals from border to border. We conduct outreach, engagement, and support from the border of Mexico to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. There is a Head Start program in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in a little Indian village called Supai; we go actually go there to help serve them, either by hiking or by helicopter. We serve all home-based providers (regulated, certified, FFNs) as much as we can. In addition, other professionals are users of the registry such as the coaches who provide professional development support to our educators. We also collaborate closely with institutions of Higher Education and their faculty staff to support their students in joining the registry to begin building their professional profile and career trajectory. Our goal is to have equitable representation of the educators reflected in the data produced by the registry, and to ensure they receive the support they need to be successful in their profession.
What is the role of the Arizona Early Childhood Workforce Registry within the Professional Development System?
Before the Arizona Early Childhood Workforce Registry was launched, there were many state and local organizations doing amazing work to support our early care and educators, but they were working in silos. Investments were duplicated and there were inefficiencies within systems. Efforts were fragmented and limited in reach.
Early on, we realized that we needed to collaborate with all organizations and state agencies that support the ECE workforce. The Arizona Early Childhood Career and Professional Development Network is an integrated early childhood professional development system for all Arizona early childhood professionals working with and on behalf of young children and The Arizona Early Childhood Workforce Registry is a crucial component of the Network to implementing their system functions.
To be honest, the early care and educators have become the biggest ambassadors of our registry. They are consistent in requesting that professional development and support they receive are tracked in their records, so they have a central place to maintain and track their information.
A recent story shared by a Center Director illustrated the value of the registry providing her with the support she needed for operating the program and leadership guidance for her staff. She shared with me that now her hiring and on-boarding practices include participation in the registry. The PD records that educators download from their profiles serve as a resume supplement where they can showcase their career lattice level, their professional development attainment aligned with the core knowledge areas, their professional development experience, etc. The registry supports educators, leaders and all professionals in early care and education and there are so many great stories and positive feedback we can share from the field.
Please expand on the types of functions and services the Arizona Early Childhood Workforce Registry provides that effectively support and strengthen the ECE professionals in your state.
All the functions listed in the section above are components of the registry that have been enhanced over the years to provide a more intuitive system that educators can access to advance their career.
- The Registry Substitute Pool allows Registry users to submit themselves as an available sub with available days and hours while allowing Site Administrators to view the pool and call on available substitutes.
- REWARD$ is a statewide bonus program that offers a cash bonus to early childhood educators based on education level and time at their center. The AZ Registry does not administer this program, but the Registry is used for the application and tracking process.
- Quality First is a program of First Things First, Arizona’s early childhood agency. Quality First is Arizona’s Quality Improvement/Rating program and collaborates closely with the Arizona Registry.
- The licensing tools are getting some good feedback from directors, and it has been one of the most innovative work we have done to build a comprehensive and integrated system.In addition to supporting licensors and program Directors with efficient reviews through the licensing module, the registry tracks health and safety requirements for the CCDBG areas. The state agency that manages the CCDBG funds can pull reports for compliance right at their fingertips.
Arizona has built an impressive licensing module and we want to learn more about this innovative development. The NWRA applauds your licensing agency for their visionary role in building and using registry data effectively to support the workforce in your state.
We used to receive licensing data reports on a monthly basis and I had to manually review the license site list against the data already imported in the registry to keep the data clean ( update addresses, expire license information, etc.). As the registry continued to play a central role for workforce development, licensing staff took a major role in the design of an integrated and comprehensive tool. It was a true collaboration between our registry staff, our registry developer (RegistryOne®), and the licensing personnel.
The module primarily gives licensing staff the ability to pull up program site accounts before the surveyors even walk into a classroom to review their TB tests, staff certifications, food handler cards, verified education for program staff, fingerprint clearance cards, background checks and all data they need to review for compliance. The PD report for each staff member is organized with education, professional experience, and summarized training information by verification status. Licensors and Directors appreciate the efficiency that the systems have created by working together.
Directors who manage big corporate sites (30-40 programs) have shared positive reviews for the support they have received through the registry. One thing that Directors like the most is the alerts they receive when certifications are about to expire. It helps them to proactively plan and maintain the staff training information up to date.
One thing to note is that although there is high participation in the registry, it is not mandatory for licensed program staff to join. However- because we have seen what has happened in other states-we are certain that if participation in the registry becomes mandatory for early care and educators in Arizona, the impact due to the saturation and representation will be very powerful.
Please share how you leverage workforce voices and input in the design and implementation of the registry.
For the initial implementation of the registry, our visionary funders took the lead in creating a professional development work group. There were subcommittees on that professional development work group and one of their primary roles was to advise the development of the registry. The meetings were held in person with representation of state agency leaders, early childhood program administrators, professional development providers, and home visiting staff. The initial discussions included what the registry should be for the workforce, what it should evolve into, what the field needed, what had been working and what needed to be done . It then expanded to how we can reach everyone in the field which prompted us to hire outreach coordinators to get workforce representation and input.
The AZ Registry has 7 outreach coordinators that are based around Arizona, and they are in different communities working directly with the early childhood professionals. They are registry staff, their faces are known, they are constantly networking and offering direct support to the workforce. They visit the programs, hold webinars, trainings, participate in county meetings,and more.In our admin home, we have a help desk system set up to offer any additional support.
In addition, we see the value of outreach with educational partnerships and we have teamed up with community colleges throughout the state. There are about 24 community colleges in Arizona and each Community College with an ECE Department, has a registry liaison. In addition, the Registry houses and administers a scholarship program that funds Associate Degrees, BA Degrees and the CDA Assessment Fee. We partner with the Community College ECE Advisors to assure their students understand the AZ Registry Scholarship. We also require a signed educational plan prepared by the college ECE advisor. We will not approve any scholarship of courses that are not on the signed educational plan.
Arizona is certainly doing innovative work and collaborating to make things easier for the workforce. Are there any other equitable approaches or initiatives the registry has implemented to ensure early childhood providers could both succeed and be supported throughout their professional journey?
We certainly agree that our collaborative efforts with other state agencies are benefiting the workforce in many ways. The apprenticeship and the stipends programs are other great examples of equitable and collaborative work where the registry is playing a role to ensure that the implementation is effective and wisely invested for the workforce. It may not be our lead project but the registry is included in all the planning to ensure that decisions that are made are data-driven and support the strategic goals.
The AZ Registry also has a full catalog of free training. We collaborate with various state professional development providers as well as national organizations such as Sesame Workshop. We offer many training sessions in English and Spanish.
What role has the National Workforce Registry Alliance (NWRA) played to support the workforce registry and professional development efforts in your state?
Personally, as a system leader, it has helped me grow in my role. I was tasked to launch the registry when I was hired and this work was new to me. The NWRA has provided many learning and networking opportunities over the years and participating in these events allowed me to grow and do this work well. I would not have been able to do it on my own. Honestly, the annual conference was a big deal for me in those early years. Now, the NWRA has created even more resources and connections that continue to support my growth and inform the development of the registry.
The most recent support I received is the equity framework that the NWRA has invested in with the support of the Kellogg Foundation. It has trickled to registries to ensure they operate with an equity lens. Last but not least, the opportunity to volunteer on the board has been a great learning and gratifying leadership development experience.
Mark Becker has served as a visionary leader in the state of Arizona and on the national landscape, as part of the NWRA's Governing Board and Executive Committee. He leads with confidence, grounded in productivity, and humor we have come to appreciate as both consistently practical and sage advice. As Mark embarks on his next chapter stepping away from this work, we cannot stress enough how much he will be missed and what an incredible asset he has been to both Arizona's workforce and the NWRA. We wish you the absolute best, Mark!
~Kimberlee Belcher-Badal, PhD
Executive Director, NWRA