Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. and Step Up to WAGE$

Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. and Step Up to WAGE$ 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.

Demonstration Program Overview

Step Up to T.E.A.C.H.

Since 1990, Child Care Services Association (CCSA) has administered the T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education And Compensation Helps) Early Childhood® as a comprehensive national strategy that helps to 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 will 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.

Learn more about Step Up to T.E.A.C.H.

Step Up to WAGE$

The Child Care WAGE$® Program is a nationally recognized compensation strategy for the early care and education workforce. Child Care Services Association (CCSA) in North Carolina created and implements the program in the state. In addition, other states have licensed the model through CCSA’s T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center (Center). WAGE$ provides education-based salary supplements or incentives based on six-month periods worked in the same child care program with the goals of increasing compensation, education and retention. These and other important benefits have been achieved throughout the program’s history.

The traditional WAGE$ license identifies multiple expectations to help ensure the quality of the program in each participating state, including various levels of monitoring and assessment. The Center works with each state to develop an education/incentive scale, eligibility and policies and then provides ongoing training and technical assistance with the expectation that each state will continue to pursue necessary funding to sustain and grow the program.

With significant funding coming to states for early care and education through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), states will need to identify the best ways to meet needs in an expedient way and with the understanding that the money is temporary. Workforce supports are critical and states who implement related strategies can take the opportunity to showcase their impact and advocate for sustainable funding.

CCSA is offering a new approach for states wanting to launch WAGE$ with ARPA funds called Step Up to WAGE$. The goal is to offer a modified, “off the shelf” product that can be implemented quickly and can get money into the hands of deserving early educators.

Learn more about Step Up to WAGE$

Participation in a Step UP to T.E.A.C.H. or Step UP to WAGE$ program is restricted to organizations within states that do not currently offer a licensed T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship or a Child Care WAGE$ Salary Supplement Program.  Please click the link to find out if your state has a T.E.A.C.H. or WAGE$ program available.


Interested state organizations ONLY should begin planning now and may ask general/preliminary questions by emailing us. Individuals interested in participating in this program should contact their state organization.

  • What are the expectations of the administrative home for Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. and Step Up to WAGE$?

    Administrative homes have the following expectations:

    • Be currently operating with 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status and be in good standing, financially;
    • Have an existing statewide presence (or regional, if only regional) across your early care and education workforce community;
    • Agree to participate in the Center’s administrator orientation and training;
    • Have no inherent conflict of interest related to making scholarship or supplement awards;
    • Sign a joint Memorandum of Agreement with Child Care Service Association (CCSA) which outlines responsibilities for each party;
    • Submit an operational budget that details administrative and direct scholarship or supplement costs;
    • Agree to use the T.E.A.C.H. or WAGE$ database and adhere to the specific database agreement;*
    • Describe and attest to your capacity for having an adequate infrastructure that includes program operations, fiscal and IT support; and
    • Accept the Center’s guidance for the recruitment of scholarship and supplement counselor and program administrator positions.
  • What resources and supports will Step Up administrative homes receive?

    Administrative homes will receive the following:

    • T.E.A.C.H. and WAGE$ database and consultation;
    • Programmatic technical assistance; and
    • Templates of essential materials needed to launch and administer the Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. or Step Up to WAGE$ program.
  • Do the Step Up application packets include start-up costs, such as technology, administration, etc.?

    The Annual Fee covers initial and ongoing program training, technical assistance, database and consultation and essential templates to implement the Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. or Step Up to WAGE$ program. View the Fee Schedule.

Implement Step Up to T.E.A.C.H. or Step Up to WAGE$ in Your State

Watch this overview webinar.