Wisconsin Registry



Workforce Registry Name: Wisconsin Registry

Reach: Statewide

Participation status:  A certificate from the Wisconsin Registry is required as documentation that an individual has met the preliminary qualifications within 6 months after beginning to work in child care. A certificate from the Wisconsin Registry is also required by YoungStar, Wisconsin’s QRIS, as documentation that an individual completed Registry membership to obtain a Registry Career Level. Once the above requirements are met, participation is voluntary.

ECE Workforce Population: 31,400

Registry Functions and Professional Supports:

★ Membership processing
• Career Level
• Preliminary licensing position qualification
★ Professional Development Approval System (PDASystem)
•Trainer and Technical Assistance
•Professional approval
•Training Sponsor Organization approval
•Training course and event approval
•Statewide Training Calendar
★ Child Care Foundational Training Sustainability
★ ECE Community Bulletin Board
★ Learning Management System★ Program profiles
★ Registry Credential supports
★ Technical assistance to ECE workforce
★ Data transfer to the WI Department of Children and Families

For more information, visit the NWRA’s Registry Membership Profile


Since day one, our vision has been for Wisconsin’s Early Childhood Care and After-School Education workforce serving children birth-12 to be recognized as a profession, providing high quality early learning and engaging in continuous professional growth.


Everyday we work to promote members’ professional development opportunities and collect the data that informs public policy and advocacy efforts to support the workforce.

Core Values

• Empowered educators improve outcomes for children, families, and communities.

• Good data drives good decisions.

• Learning is a life-long journey.

• Collaborative relationships are built on trust.

• All people contribute value and are worthy of trust.

February 2024 Interview with:

Christine Moldenhauer, Executive Director

Please give us an overview of the workforce registry in your state. Who does it serve?

In the late 1980s, representatives from several agencies and organizations across the state came together to address growing needs for an agency to verify and recognize the achievements of Wisconsin’s Early Childhood Care and Afterschool Education workforce. After years of collaborative research in Wisconsin and the nation, The Registry Inc. was established in 1991 as the nation’s first Early Childhood Care and Afterschool Education workforce registry.

Over the years, The Registry Inc. has continued to recognize the achievements of Early Childhood Care and Afterschool Education professionals and promote professional growth. Taking this mission another step, The Registry Inc. worked to develop and implement a system to approve training and trainers in 2007, ensuring providers can find quality training opportunities across the state.

The Registry Inc. continues to passionately support the Early Childhood Care and Afterschool Education professionals by workforce sharing data— including information about wages— at the state and national levels. The Registry Inc. believes concrete and accurate data is the way to positively change the workforce and influence how the workforce is perceived.

As the work of The Registry, Inc. expanded to serve the ECE workforces of Minnesota and Michigan, The Registry Inc. adopted the name Wisconsin Registry to better reflect the team solely dedicated and committed to serving and working with Wisconsin’s Early Childhood Care and Afterschool Education professionals. In November 2023, the Wisconsin Registry became a free registry for general membership, an exciting step to be one less worry for child care providers in our state!

What is the role of The Wisconsin Registry within the Professional Development System?

The Wisconsin Registry’s Professional Development Approval System (PDASystem) was created in 2007 in collaboration with the WI Department of Children and Families, statewide agencies, organizations, and individuals. The PDASystem supports and promotes quality training and technical consultation opportunities, assures trainer and technical assistant professionals’ content knowledge, and embraces the commitment of sponsoring organizations. This approval system helps ensure all of Wisconsin’s Early Childhood Care and Afterschool Education workforce has access to quality professional development opportunities.

Each training found on the Statewide Training Calendar is carefully reviewed and approved based on the following criteria to help ensure it is a quality training event:

  • Follows high quality, evidence-based practices in the field
  • Incorporates adult learning principles
  • Incorporates training curriculum that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Aligns with Wisconsin’s Core Competencies 

Being a Wisconsin Registry approved Trainer and/or Technical Assistance Professional (T-TAP) is a level of recognition for individuals providing training or technical assistance to the child care workforce and other direct care practitioners. Additionally, organizations can become approved as Training Sponsor Organizations (TSOs) to offer approved training events in the PDASystem.

Benefits of the PDASystem:

  • Through this system, all approved T-TAP are assessed by education and experience and then awarded an endorsement during the approval process. 
  • Approved training is reviewed for content. 
  • Approved Tier trainers are responsible for entering training event attendance directly into the Registry PDASystem to avoid fraud and alleviating the need for attendees to submit documentation to the Wisconsin Registry. 
  • Approved Tier training can lead to possible advancement on Registry Career Levels. 
  • Approved training can be advertised on the Statewide Training Calendar for providers to easily locate for their professional development needs. 
  • An approval system leads to a better educated workforce and more consistent training on a statewide basis. 
  • Children and their families are the ultimate beneficiaries of having a system for approving Trainers, Technical Assistance Professionals, and training.

Please expand on the types of functions and services The Wisconsin Registry provides that effectively support and strengthen ECE professionals in your state.

Becoming a member of the Wisconsin Registry is easy and an important part of professional development. There is a place for all Early Childhood and Afterschool Education professionals in the Wisconsin Registry. This includes family providers, employees in group centers, staff in school-age programs, personnel in support organizations, and others.

The Wisconsin Registry has been Wisconsin’s professional development recognition system for early care and education professionals since 1991. A Wisconsin Registry certificate is required for all teachers, directors and administrators in licensed child care programs. A Wisconsin Registry Certificate and Learning Record acknowledge and highlight the training, experience and professionalism that are vital to quality early care and education, honoring each recipient’s unique training and background.

We collaborate with YoungStar, Wisconsin’s QRIS, to support high-quality early care and education in Wisconsin. YoungStar education and training is verified through a program’s Wisconsin Registry Program Profile and electronically shared with Department of Children and Families (DCF) to support professionals in implementing high-quality practices.

Wisconsin Registry Credentials combine cutting-edge learning with the latest in research and techniques. These credit-based programs are focused on job specific skills so students can apply the practical knowledge they’ve learned to their current positions. The Wisconsin Registry Credentials are a steppingstone to advancement for any aspect of the early care and education field. Accredited technical colleges and universities located throughout the state of Wisconsin offer credential coursework. There are eleven Wisconsin Registry Credentials.

  • Foundational Credentials

○ Afterschool and Youth Development

○ Family Child Care

○ Infant Toddler

○ Preschool

  • Administrative Credentials

○ Administrator

○ Leadership

○ Program Development

  • Speciality Credentials

○ Diversity

○ Inclusion

○ Nature-Based Early Childhood Education

○ Supporting Dual Language Learners

Each professional credential has the following common elements:

  • Is credit based (12-18 credits per credential) and taught by a professional educator through a Wisconsin institution of higher education.
  • Is a sequence of 4-6 specific courses, which build upon one another, requiring students to apply what they’ve learned in previous courses.
  • Culminates in a Capstone Course and the development of a final project or portfolio.
  • Concludes with a Registry Commission where the credential candidate demonstrates to a Registry Commissioner the new knowledge and skills they have learned.  Learn more about the Commission process. 
  • Is developed, approved, and awarded by the Wisconsin Registry.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families partners with the Wisconsin Registry and Training Sponsor Organizations to provide the Child Care Foundational Training for Licensing. This training is non-credit and is one pathway to fulfill the educational requirements to be qualified for licensing positions. Additionally, online content is offered through the Wisconsin Registry’s Insight LMS that is supportive of YoungStar quality initiatives.

We provide customer service to the field by phone and email. Customer service topics include but are not limited to application processing, licensing position qualifications, YoungStar education verification, YoungStar Program Profile, PDAS Trainer and Technical Assistance approval, PDAS course and event approval, Wisconsin Registry Credential commissioning, and LMS support. We have bilingual staff to provide customer service in Spanish as well. The Wisconsin Registry also has a comprehensive website, support guides, and how-to videos available to support customer service with many of these resources also available in Spanish.

The Wisconsin Registry website includes a Community Bulletin Board feature. The Community Bulletin Board is a place for organizations to freely share news, updates, and information with everyone invested in the Early Childhood Care and After-School Education profession. This resource provides the workforce information on opportunities to expand their professional development and become more deeply involved as a professional.

Please share how you leverage workforce voices and input in the design and implementation of the registry.

The Wisconsin Registry collaborates with workgroups for Wisconsin Registry Credentials and our Professional Development Approval System (PDAS). We also participate in workgroups with partner agencies, which allows us to share updates about our Wisconsin Registry system. 

When rebranding our registry in 2021, a survey was created and sent to our early care and afterschool community for feedback. The community’s feedback impacted how we designed our homepage and what resources were needed to support the services we offer.

The Wisconsin Registry continues to participate in statewide conferences to share the services we offer and provide member support. We have also done outreach with our Wisconsin Technical College community to present our services to current college students that will be entering the field. 

What equitable approaches or initiatives the registry has implemented to ensure early childhood providers could both succeed and be supported throughout their professional journey?

During our rebrand in 2021, a dedicated page for Spanish resource documents was made on the website. We also offer bilingual customer support in Spanish to our members by phone or email. 

Part of funding the Wisconsin Registry received from the Preschool Development Grant (PDG), allowed us to create a Foreign Transcript Evaluation Grant. This grant covers the fee of an evaluation report from One Earth, an international credential evaluations service based in Madison, WI. The evaluation report allows our staff to verify the high school graduation year and higher education a member received outside of the United States.

We continue to use diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statements and supports within our Professional Development Approval System. Wisconsin Registry approved Trainers and Training Sponsor Organizations are asked to provide a DEI statement when submitting courses and events within our system.  

The Wisconsin Registry is currently reviewing our Career Levels with a BJEDI (belonging, justice, equity, diversity, inclusion) lens. 

Starting November 1st, 2023, there is no longer a fee associated with a Wisconsin Registry membership. This is an exciting opportunity to make a Registry membership more equitable and accessible to the field.

In 2024, we are expanding our use of a Learning Management System (LMS) as a platform to offer training to meet learner needs. Our state department approved foundational training will be offered through the LMS as a face-to-face or blended training. 

What role has the National Workforce Registry Alliance (NWRA) played to support the workforce registry and professional development efforts in your state?

As one of the founding members of the National Workforce Registry Alliance, we have always been grateful for the networking, collaboration, and learning opportunities the Alliance has provided. The peer to peer nature of the NWRA conference has given us the ability to learn directly from others who are innovating in our unique work. Our post-conference debrief sessions are where we get some of our best inspiration for applying new ideas and staying energized in our work. 

Being PER approved since 2011 has given us an amazing sense of perspective as we have leveraged this work to improve our policies and procedures through the years. We are excitedly anticipating the new PER redesign to help encourage and guide our continuous quality improvement. Participating in the bi-annual PER data pull and cleaning has also helped us live our Core Value of “Good data drives good decisions.” Year over year our data cleaning process has gotten more streamlined as our practices work to keep our data clean throughout the year. 

In early 2023, the Wisconsin Registry participated in the Verification and Data Entry for Registry Staff Community of Practice. It was a great opportunity to collaborate with other workforce registries and share best practices. We also worked together to create new resources to advance the work of registries across the nation.