Qualified Workforce Incentives (QWI): Frequently Asked Questions

QWI is a new OEC initiative designed to help recruit and retain a qualified early childhood teaching workforce. To get the basics, look at our main QWI page.


Who is eligible?

For the first round of QWI funding, you must be teaching staff in an OEC-funded (School Readiness, Child Day Care contract, State Head Start) licensed centers and group homes (DCCC/DCGH). You must also:

  • Be confirmed as employed in your program in the OEC Registry for at least 6 months
  • Have completed:
    • One-time Care 4 Kids health and safety orientation
    • One of the following degrees or credentials in early childhood education:
      • Bachelor’s degree or higher in early childhood education (ECE) or a B level ECTC or a Bachelor’s degree or higher and state ECE teaching endorsement
      • Associate degree in ECE or A level ECTC
      • Current CDA Credential

Round 2 (date to be announced) will add non OEC funded licensed center and group home teaching staff.

What Connecticut teaching endorsements are considered ECE by OEC?

  • 112 Integrated Early Childhood/Special Ed., Birth – K
  • 113 Integrated Early Childhood/Special Ed., N/K through grade 3
  • 01 PreK-Grade 8
  • 02 PreK-Grade 6
  • 03 PreK-Grade 3
  • 08 PreK-K
  • 065 Comprehensive Special Education PreK-Grade 12

How do I complete the one-time Care 4 Kids health and safety orientation?

Read more about the one-time health and safety orientation. Remember the online Care4Kids health and safety training portion of each option can be accessed free of charge at any time through your OEC Registry account.

I have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and an associate degree in early childhood. Do I get the bachelor’s degree base amount?

No. This incentive is specific to formal early childhood education benchmarks. An associate degree ECE-verified in the OEC Registry would have the associate degree base amount.

What if I have 2 part-time jobs at different OEC funded licensed programs that meet the full-time/full-year definition?

Contact your county’s lead Registry staffer for assistance before you apply. Check this page if you’re not sure whom to contact.

We have a small program and I work full time and full year, but split my time between being an administrator and teaching mornings (20 hours/week) in our 4s room as the designated teacher. Can I get the full-time/full-year award?

This award strictly applies to teaching staff time. In this example, you would qualify for the less than full-time/full-year award if you are regularly scheduled in a specific classroom. An administrator who randomly helps in and out of rooms is not eligible under these specific funds.

Can I apply if I am working on my degree but have not finished yet?

Not yet, but keep working on your degree! OEC plans to have ongoing QWI awards. When you finish your degree, upload your final transcripts in your OEC Registry account. Once verified, apply! Make sure you are also requesting OEC scholarship for your ECE degree work.

Can I apply for the QWI if I already am getting a bonus from my program through the Stabilization Funds?

Yes! These funds are part of the OEC’s Preschool Development Grant (PDG) and are not related to the pandemic. As part of the OEC’s PDG plan, they are specific to supporting Connecticut’s early childhood teaching workforce in licensed centers and group homes.

I have my bachelor’s degree in ECE, have met the Care 4 Kids one-time health and safety orientation, and work in a licensed family child care home (DCFH). Can I apply?

No. This award is specific to licensed center and group home teaching staff. Licensed family home providers receiving Care 4 Kids are eligible for incentives as part of the CSEA/SEIU family child care contract. Be sure all of your transcripts are uploaded to your Registry account so you can get awarded the right incentives through your Care 4 Kids payments.

Base awards and bonuses

How much will I receive?

Your award has 2 parts: the base award and the potential bonuses.

Base awards consider your employment status:

  • Full-time/full-year: 30 hours or more per week and 40 weeks or more per year receive the base amount
  • Not full-time/full-year: 29 or fewer hours per week AND/OR 39 weeks or fewer per year (The award for applicants working less than full time/full year is 50% of the full time/full year base amount.)

Bonuses of 10% of the eligible base amount are added for each of the following:

  • Quality: Program has current NAEYC Accreditation or Head Start Approval
  • Equity: Program is located in an area awarded a Social Vulnerability Index rating of 0.6 or higher
  • Capacity: Applicant works directly with infants and/or toddlers on a daily scheduled basis at least 30 hours per week and at least 40 weeks per year

Full-time and full-year

Education level plus C4K H/S orientationBase AmountIT 10% BonusNAEYC 10% BonusSVI Bonus 10%Lowest award / Highest award
Current CDA Credential$500$50$50$50$500 / $650
Associate degree ECE or A level ECTC$1,000$100$100$100$1,000 / $1,300
Bachelor’s degree or higher ECE, or B level ETCT, or Bachelor’s degree or higher plus ECE teacher certification$2,000$200$200$200$2,000 / $2,600

Less than full-time and/or less than full-year

Education level plus C4K H/S orientationBase Amount: (50%)IT  BonusNAEYC 10% BonusSVI Bonus 10%Lowest award / Highest award
Current CDA Credential$250FT/FY only$25$25$250 / $300
Associate degree ECE or A level ECTC$500FT/FY only$50$50$500 / $600
Bachelor’s degree or higher ECE, or B level ETCT, or Bachelor’s degree or higher plus ECE teacher certification$1,000FT/FY only$100$100$1,000 / $1,200

How do I know if my program meets the Quality (NAEYC Accreditation/Head Start Approval) bonuses?

That information will automatically load into your application based on what your program administrator has uploaded to the Registry to show NAEYC Accreditation or Head Start Approval.

How do I know if my program meets the Equity (SVI) bonus?

We will calculate the equity bonus for individuals working in programs likely to serve children and families with additional system barriers to success.  

What is the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI)? 

This tool was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help local officials identify communities that may need support before, during, or after a disaster. Scores are assigned at the census tract level (based on a program’s location) and take into account 15 Census variables. SVI scores range from 0 to 1 (1 being the most under-resourced areas) and are scaled relative to other census tracts in CT.


How will I get paid?

You’ll be paid by direct deposit into the account you choose when you apply. You won’t be charged any fees for this service by our vendor. Note that we aren’t issuing paper checks.

Once your application has been approved, you will receive an email from Checkissuing Information (noreply@checkissuing.com). For verification, you can check that the amount noted in the email matches the incentive amount in the Registry.

The email will have a link that says “Click here to accept your payment.” Once you click, you’ll be prompted for your bank’s routing number and your account number. The funds will automatically be deposited in your account within 10 business days.

What if I don’t have a bank account?

If you don’t have a bank account, contact the Women’s Business Development Council for assistance at 203-751-9550 ext. 113 or childcarebusiness@ctwbdc.org. They can help you set one up — and they offer personal financial health support to OEC licensed programs and staff for free!

You can have the payment deposited into someone else’s account (like a friend or family member’s) but you’ll need to take safeguards to be sure the award goes to you. Please protect your hard-earned incentive!

What if I only use a check cashing and bill paying service? Can my director use OEC Stabilization Funds to cover bank account fees?

OEC Stabilization Funds (regular base or the 25% staff compensation) can be used to cover bank account fees during the life of the Stabilization Funds. The use of check cashing and bill paying services costs you hard earned money with each transaction, so we encourage you to avoid these.

If you need help, please contact Women’s Business Development Council for assistance at 203-751-9550 ext. 113.

How can I use the money?

You can use the money just as you would use your paycheck. You don’t have to report the way you use it. 

Do I have to pay taxes on this money?

Yes, it’s taxable income. You’ll receive the appropriate form for filing your taxes. If you want help planning for taxes, please contact the Women’s Business Development Council for assistance at 203-751-9550 ext. 113 or childcarebusiness@ctwbdc.org.

Social Security Numbers (SSNs) and Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN)

Why do I have to provide a SSN or ITIN?

The OEC Registry began requiring the SSN/ITIN to link to the Background Check Information System (BCIS) and to have the one true unique identifier across systems (see the Registry’s Privacy Policy). You must have an SSN or ITIN and submit them as part of the application because these funds are taxable income. You’ll receive the proper tax form to use in filing your taxes for the award year.

What if my SSN or ITIN is wrong?

If your SSN/ITIN or any other information in your application is incorrect, please contact your county’s lead Registry staffer. Do not apply until all information is correct.

Will my SSN/ITIN information be secure?

We take data security very seriously. Your SSN or ITIN and your bank account information are encrypted once you enter them in the Registry and data is transferred securely. We’ve also updated our login security and password protection. Please also see the Registry’s Privacy Policy for more details.

Have questions?

We’re happy to help. Send us an email at OEC.Registry@ct.gov.

Last updated October 26, 2022