Sweeping changes:

REWARD and
T.E.A.C.H. Programs
Have Expanded

WECA is excited about the expansion of the REWARD Wisconsin Stipend and T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Wisconsin programs, thanks to significant funding increases. The new funding has allowed us to implement enhanced supports for Wisconsin’s early childhood educators (ECE) and their educational and professional journeys.

To stay informed, please visit and bookmark this webpage, which has important details you’ll need to know. Please also ensure you are following WECA on our social media channels.

REWARD Wisconsin LogoREWARD program eligibility has expanded significantly, allowing the program to financially support a majority of Wisconsin’s early childhood educators at higher stipend amounts. There are several eligibility changes, including all levels of The Registry being eligible, no wage cap and educator longevity at current program being reduced to six months.

Changes start this summer, but there are steps you can complete now and some details to keep in mind to prepare. Staying informed and engaged will assist you in reaping the benefits of the much-anticipated enhancements. Please review the FAQ section below for key details and steps you can take.

The new REWARD application is live!

REWARD FAQs

Generally speaking, what do the changes include and mean for early childhood professionals?

WECA has received significant funding to expand the programs to serve even more early childhood educators. REWARD eligibilities are expanding so that we can serve nearly all early childhood educators in Wisconsin at higher stipend amounts. Several T.E.A.C.H. program reimbursements, stipends and bonuses will increase to make qualifying educational pathways nearly free for early childhood educators pursuing credit-based education.

What are some of the key changes coming to the REWARD program?
Key upcoming changes include:

  • The wage cap will be eliminated.
  • Increased stipend amounts
  • Longevity at the current child care program will reduce to 6 months.
  • All levels of The Registry will be eligible.
  • Applicants will no longer need program representative approval on application.

What will the new REWARD eligibilities be?
The new eligibilities are as follows:

Education

  • Any Registry Level

Employment Longevity

  • Worked at your current employer for at least 6 current and continuous months

Other Employment Requirements

  • Employed by a group child care program that is licensed and/or participating in YoungStar; OR, in a licensed or certified family child care program
  • Work at least 20 hours/week
  • Work at least 5% of your time in an early childhood classroom, either directly with children or in supervision and support of staff
  • Live and/or work in the state of Wisconsin

I want to ensure I receive the increased REWARD stipends. What can I do?
First, current REWARD recipients and those new providers interested in the program should make sure their individual Registry certificate is updated to reflect their highest level of education as soon as possible. Do not delay – please complete this at your earliest convenience. This is separate from the REWARD application, which you will also need to submit.

I’m a current REWARD recipient. What can I expect in terms of the stipend I receive before the changes take effect?
REWARD applications are currently being accepted and renewals are occurring with the current eligibilities. At some point, there will be a “cut over” to the new eligibilities. The cut over date has not yet been determined, but information on that and how it will impact current recipients will be shared as soon as it is available.

How do I make sure my information is updated with the Registry?
You need to log in to your Registry Profile. Follow all the steps to update. Individuals employed at a regulated program can use the coupon code “PDG2022” to join Wisconsin Registry or renew membership for free. Take a look at this helpful document from the Registry with more detailed information.

When can I expect WECA to share additional information?
If you’re a current recipient of either program, it’s important to read all WECA e-mails you receive, follow us on social media and regularly check our website to make sure you have the most updated information. We will be in regular contact with all those enrolled in WECA programs to ensure they have all the information they need on the changes.

Who can I talk to if I need clarification on information I’ve received?
Please reach out to a member of our REWARD and/or T.E.A.C.H. program teams on any questions you have. They will be happy to clarify and assist you.

It’s great to hear there is additional financial support for these programs. Where is the money coming from?
The Department of Children and Families and state Legislature allocated federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to T.E.A.C.H. and REWARD to support the early childhood workforce and child care programs in Wisconsin through June 2024. We are appreciative of this and know how important it is to support early educators, children and families. 

It’s also an incredibly important reminder on the importance of continued advocacy to ensure we can sustain funding sources moving forward.

T.E.A.C.H. WISCONSIN LogoT.E.A.C.H. is set to make qualifying educational pathways nearly free for early childhood educators pursuing credit-based education because of these upcoming changes. Several key program reimbursements, stipends and bonuses will increase, making T.E.A.C.H. participation an even more powerful package of supports to assist ECE professionals with higher education.

T.E.A.C.H. FAQs

Generally speaking, what do the upcoming changes include and mean for early childhood professionals?
WECA has received significant funding to expand the programs to serve even more early childhood educators. REWARD eligibilities are expanding so that we can serve nearly all early childhood educators in Wisconsin at higher stipend amounts. Several T.E.A.C.H. program reimbursements, stipends and bonuses will increase to make qualifying educational pathways nearly free for early childhood educators pursuing credit-based education.

What are some of the key changes coming to the T.E.A.C.H. program?
Key upcoming changes include:

  • 90% book reimbursement
  • Release time reimbursed at $15.00/hour (15 hours per semester)
  • $100 travel stipend each semester
  • Bonuses increased by $100
  • Full payment of Registry commission fee
  • One-time technology stipend
  • Stipend to each sponsoring center and family child care program

Note, recipients and centers continue to be responsible for only 5% of tuition.

I am a current T.E.A.C.H. participant. What can I expect?
Current recipients who are active in the fall semester will have their contracts adjusted to reflect new percentages and stipends. If you have more detailed questions, please reach out to your T.E.A.C.H. counselor. They will be happy to assist.

Are there any changes to the educational pathways the T.E.A.C.H. program covers?
Scholarships continue to cover all the educational pathways we have been supporting with T.E.A.C.H. funds. A full list of those options are on our website here. We prioritize educational pathways that support individuals to access courses, credentials and degrees for family child care providers, assistant and lead teachers, program directors and administrators in foundational early childhood education. We recognize there are additional educational options that also support this field to provide improved practices, like business courses/degrees, masters degrees and other credentials – we do not cover those options on T.E.A.C.H. scholarships.

When can I expect WECA to share additional information?
If you’re a current recipient of either program, it’s important to read all WECA e-mails you receive, follow us on social media and regularly check our website to make sure you have the most updated information. We will be in regular contact with all those enrolled in WECA programs to ensure they have all the information they need on the changes.

Who can I talk to if I need clarification on information I’ve received?
Please reach out to a member of our REWARD and/or T.E.A.C.H. program teams on any questions you have. They will be happy to clarify and assist you.

It’s great to hear there is additional financial support for these programs. Where is the money coming from?
The Department of Children and Families and state Legislature allocated federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to T.E.A.C.H. and REWARD to support the early childhood workforce and child care programs in Wisconsin through June 2024. We are appreciative of this and know how important it is to support early educators, children and families.

It’s also an incredibly important reminder on the importance of continued advocacy to ensure we can sustain funding sources moving forward.