Professional Development

Professional development is essential for childcare providers in improving the care that they offer to

children, and is a requirement for DCFS licenses, achieving and maintaining circle of qualities and accreditation. At Community Child Care Connection, we help providers further their education and development with local training events and professional development programs.

To view or print a PDF of our training Calendar, please click here:

You may also visit the Illinois’ Gateways website where providers can search for trainings in our area as well as areas surrounding the counties that we serve on a Statewide Training Calendar.

To access online trainings required for Illinois DCFS Licensing,  trainings required to apply for ExceleRate, and additional Gateways to Opportunity Trainings (i.e. ECE Credential Level 1, We Choose Health, Emergency Preparedness for Child Care, etc.) please visit


Community Child Care Connection is pleased to partner with the Child Care Education Institute to offer online professional development courses that meet DCFS licensing training requirements. Online training opportunities offered include one, two and five hour in service credit course. All courses offered have been reviewed by partnering CCR&R staff.

Professional development coursework is delivered through an online learning management system that provides user-friendly enrollment, easy access to courses, and a self-paced engaging online learning environment for students. Professionals can take courses from any computer with Internet access, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Certificates can be printed immediately upon completion of the training module.

* Individuals may complete up to five hours of workshops each year, free of charge. A small fee of $7.00 per credit hour is * charged for any additional workshops for which they register.

Individual Professional Development Funds

Based on available funding from the Illinois Department of Human Services, Community Child Care Connection supports individual pursuit of professional development in early care education and school-age care. Funds can be requested for:​

  • Registration fees associated with conferences/workshops not required by ExceleRate Illinois. The conference/workshop must be off-site from your place of employment and must be related to early care and education, school-age care or childcare administration/management.
  • Fees associated with webinars/online training that are approved within the Illinois Gateways to Opportunity Registry.
  • Travel/transportation cost.
  • Lodging cost.
  • Costs associated with the following credentials: Child Development Associate (CDA) Certified Child Care Professional (CCP) and Gateways Credentials (IDC, ECE, ITC).
Click here to download the FY22 IPDF Guidelines and Application

Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program

The Gateways To Opportunity Scholarship Program has replaced the program previously known as T.E.A.C.H. This program is an individual-based scholarship opportunity for practitioners working in the field of Early Care and Education. Practitioners working in Illinois Department of Children and Family Services licensed centers and homes can apply for a Gateways Scholarship. The Gateways Scholarship Program will pay a percentage of the cost of tuition and fees based on an eligible participant’s childcare position income. Receiving a financial scholarship may offer the opportunity for a childcare provider to gain a higher level of education and compensation. For more information about the Gateways To Opportunity Scholarship Program or to receive an application, visit the Gateways website or call toll-free (866) 697-8278.


Great START (Strategies to Attract and Retain Teachers) is a wage supplement program that pays eligible early care and education practitioners a monetary amount semi-annually for different steps attained within the program. To be eligible for a Great START wage supplement, an individual must Be employed in licensed, full-day, full-year child care program, including family child care providers and assistants, center directors, teachers and teacher assistants;
Have completed college coursework in early childhood education, credentials or degrees as outlined on the Great START wage supplement scale; and
Work year round, at least 15 hours per week for at least 12 consecutive months. To receive a wage supplement payment, applicants must submit a completed application, along with official college transcripts, pay stubs and documentation of work experience. ​Applicants will be reviewed and eligibility determined, and approved applicants will be paid every six months, with commitment to field. The wage supplement payment will increase as the educational level increases. For more information about the Great START program or to receive an application, visit the Gateways website or call toll-free (866) 697-8278.

CPR/First Aid Reimbursement Program

In partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services, CCCC is providing funds to assist child care practitioners to achieve First Aid (FA)/Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certification. Funding is limited and is done on a reimbursement basis. If you are seeking reimbursement for completion of CPR/First Aid Training, please click here to download the FY22 Application.