The Oregon Center for Career Development in Childhood Care and Education (OCCD) is a relatively new department in the GSE that provides professional development infrastructure services to early learning and afterschool professionals in Oregon. The OCCD has contracts and grants with Oregon’s Early Learning Division, the Oregon Department of Human Services, the Oregon Community Foundation, and the Ford Family Foundation.
The OCCD began in PSU in 1995 with just a few staff and some start-up funds and soon grew rapidly, along with the early childhood field in general. The OCCD joined the GSE in 2012. At that time, it employed 23 staff and had $1,928,361 of grant funding. In the past three years, the OCCD has exploded with activity and its services are in high demand. The department now supports 38 people on grants with $3,661,438 in annual funding.
Services at the OCCD include tracking and verifying the professional development requirements for all early learning and afterschool-licensed facilities throughout Oregon for the state’s Office of Child Care (approximately 23,000 caregivers). In addition, upon request, OCCD evaluates an individual’s professional development to assign that person to a Step on the Oregon Registry Career Lattice. Individuals on the lattice receive scholarships and incentives that help ensure continued professional development.
The OCCD supports approximately 500 trainers across Oregon who assist early learning and afterschool professionals to access appropriate professional development and meet training goals. Part of that support includes developing curriculum and delivering training-of-trainer events, as well as administering a statewide training calendar.
The work of the OCCD impacts other stakeholders and partners working to improve services for front-line child care and early education professionals, and ultimately, Oregon children and families. The OCCD is able to collect data for reports that not only apprise the Oregon Office of Child Care licensing but also inform the new Quality Rating and Improvement Star Rating System, provide information for statewide workforce policies, and keep the governor’s office advised.
The OCCD is composed of hard-working, dedicated people who are passionate about the services they provide that contribute to high quality in Oregon’s early learning and afterschool environments. This is an exciting time in early childhood, and OCCD staff are thrilled to be able to contribute to this essential work.