Pennsylvania - BUILD States - State and Local - Our Work - BUILD Initiative
Strong Foundations For Our Youngest Children

BUILD Pennsylvania

BUILD State Inception Year


BUILD State Leads

Suzann Morris, Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning, [email protected]

Becky Mercatoris, Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning, [email protected] 

Wendy Whitesell, Pennsylvania Key, [email protected]

Early Childhood System

Early Childhood Governance Structure: The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is a joint deputate within both the Departments of Education and Public Welfare. The four bureaus of OCDEL (Certification Services, Early Intervention Services, Early Learning Services and Subsidized Child Care Services) administer ten early childhood programs.

Top 3 Early Childhood Areas of Focus in 2015

  1. Establish a collaborative and cohesive vision that leads to advance the early learning system, with input from advocates, Kindergarten through 3rd grade, early intervention and families. 
  2. Create an integrated licensing assessment for the program quality improvement system.
  3. Create a strategy to reach special populations and geographic areas.

BUILD 2015 Areas of Focus

  • Create and disseminate a Community Innovation Zone Toolkit and establish a Community Innovation Zone Peer Learning Network.
  • Write a qualitative study on the elements associated with success in innovation zone approaches around the country to inform Pennsylvania's efforts.
  • Provide technical assistance to state leaders and local museum and library leaders to support their efforts to align state-level efforts with early childhood programming.
  • Support Early Learning PA advocates in successfully achieving their 2015 public policy agenda.
  • Support the new OCDEL leadership in achieving the Office's objectives over the next year.

Federal Grants

  • Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge Grant - $51,734,519 (Phase 3)
  • Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership State Grant - No state grant was received. $11,500,000 in annual grants were received by six community-based organizations in Pennsylvania.
  • Project LAUNCH Grant (2014)
  • MIECHV Grant - $9,400,000 competitive grant and $3,482,306 formula grant (FY 2015)

Local/Regional Collaboratives: Pennsylvania does not have a statewide network of local collaboratives specifically focused on developing and coordinating a comprehensive early childhood system. The state does have a number of local and regional structures that support systems building efforts, however. These include the Pennsylvania Regional Keys that focus on early education quality improvement; the LEARN network, a volunteer network across the state concentrated on early learning; and the newly established Community Innovation Zones that are being developed at the neighborhood level and are funded under the state's Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge Grant.

State Government Leadership

  • Governor Tom Wolf (D)
  • State Legislature: House and Senate (both Republican controlled)

Special State Resources