Center-Based Workforce Grants

Workforce Grants are intended to support Center-Based programs to address the challenge of recruiting and retaining qualified educators during the COVID-19 crisis.

Table of Contents

Am I eligible to receive this grant?


Workforce Grants are intended to support Center-Based programs to address the challenge of recruiting and retaining qualified educators during the COVID-19 crisis.

Programs that are eligible to apply for and receive an FY21 Workforce Grant will meet all the following criteria:

  • Be a licensed Group and School Age/Center-based program OR a funded program not run solely by a public school district
  • Have opened by and is in operation as of March 29, 2021
  • Have enrolled at least one subsidized child at some point between July 1, 2018 and March 29, 2021, as legally required by budget appropriation language

Due to restrictions set forth in the State Budget Appropriation, a center-based program must have enrolled a subsidized child between July 1, 2018 and March 29, 2021 to be eligible for this round of state-funded Workforce grants. Enrolling a subsidized child now, after the March 29 deadline, does not make a program eligible.

EEC intends the federal funding appropriated to MA through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) and federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to be available to all licensed child care programs based on the Commonwealth Cares for Children (C3) funding formula which is currently in development. More information on this opportunity will be available soon.

How much will my program be awarded?

Grant Awards

  • The grant will be funded in one payment per provider, based on license capacity in LEAD as of March 29, 2021.
  • Each provider will be eligible for $150 per licensed slot.
  • Programs serving school-age children engaged in remote learning will be eligible for an additional $30 per child served based on application information.
  • EEC will adjust the grant provided to Head Start sites to account for the state funding already distributed to these sites for Head Start.  Head Start programs will be eligible for a grant amount based on their EEC licensed capacity, minus Head Start and Early Head Start center-based funded enrollment.

Is this a competitive grant?

This is not a competitive grant. ALL applicants who meet defined eligibility criteria will receive funding.

How does the school-age remote learning add-on work?

Programs serving school-aged children during remote instruction from the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year to March 29, 2021 are eligible to receive an additional $30 per child served. The award amount will be based on the information provided by the program in the online application and the submission of a signed attestation.

My licensed capacity has changed, can I apply based on my previous licensed Capacity?

Workforce grants will be awarded based on licensed capacity recorded in LEAD as of March 29, 2021, NOT based on enrollment or attendance. The application process will include an opportunity to request any changes to information that has been pre-populated.

How will the funds be distributed?

EEC will distribute funds to Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies, which will be responsible for distributing funds directly to each program.

What can I spend the grant funds on?

Workforce grants must be used to support program staff through direct compensation.  At least 90% of grant funds must be spent on supporting educators working with children or supporting staff essential to the program’s ability to serve children and families well. Allowable expenses include the following:

  • Retention bonuses, hazard pay, or other incentive pay to existing educators and staff.
  • Signing bonuses to incentivize former or new staff, educators, or assistants to return or enter into employment.
  • Payments for increased vacation time, paid leave, or to buy out vacation time or leave to support staff’s wellbeing.
  • Stipends for volunteers, AmeriCorps members, and other direct payments to people whose added capacity helps alleviate the strain on current staff members; or
  • Investment in programs that help reduce stress and address the trauma absorbed by child care staff.

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of allowable expenditures. Programs may develop their own strategies and approaches to use the funding, as long as they support program staff and educators.  All expenses that are not direct payments to staff must meet these goals and should be justified in the budget narrative. 

Funds may not be used to replace existing staff capacity either by reducing existing staff hours or replacing staff members with AmeriCorps members, volunteers, or other personnel.

Remaining funds (up to 10% of the grant award) may be used flexibly by programs and do not need to be documented in grant budgets.

By what date do I need to have spent the money?

Funds may be used for costs incurred between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.  All funds must be spent by June 30, 2021.

I have not yet reopened; can I apply and use the funds to cover the cost of reopening my program?

Programs that have not reopened by March 29, 2021 are not eligible for these grants.

Do all funds have to be distributed equally to educators in my program...?

Do all funds have to be distributed equally to educators in my program or can they be distributed based on merit or length of service instead?

Each program may determine the best approach to distributing their grant award as long as 90% of the award supports educators and staff as outlined above.