Early Childhood Educators are HEROES… and HEROES deserve a REWARD!
Early Childhood Educators are a valuable part of community infrastructure. Yet many in the profession are not adequately compensated financially for their important work with young children. First Things First‘s Professional REWARD$ Program offers a cash bonus to support early childhood professionals who work with children birth through age 5, not yet in kindergarten.
Early educators may use REWARD$ funds however they choose: pay bills, buy gifts, take a vacation, pay for additional classes or professional development, buy materials for your program. How you use your REWARD$ is completely up to you! REWARD$ is Arizona’s way of saying “Thank You!” Login to your Registry account to get started.
REWARD$ Application Process
If you can answer “YES” to each statement below, then you have met the eligibility criteria to apply for the Professional REWARD$ Program.
- REWARD$ applicants who have been furloughed, placed on administrative leave, or had their hours reduced due to COVID-19 will still be considered eligible for the incentive if they meet all other requirements through June 30, 2023.
- I have a Registry profile account.
- I have submitted official college transcripts to the Registry.
- My Registry Participant Education and Professional Development Report (PD Report), Registry Career Lattice Level is “B” or above.
- I am at least 18 years of age and lawfully present in the United States.
- I am employed at a child care program or family home provider regulated by a Federal, State or Tribal authority and in good standing.
- I am employed in one of the following First Things First Regions below. To find out if the program where you work is in one of these regions, click here.
- Navajo Nation
- San Carlos Apache Tribe
- Southeast Maricopa
- White Mountain Apache Tribe
- I am currently working at least 30 hours per week (teachers, assistant teachers and family child care providers must work directly with children ages birth to 5 years).
- I am employed at current place of employment for past 12 consecutive months.
- I earn $20 or less per hour based on a 40-hour work week.
- My employer is demonstrating a commitment to quality by meeting one of the following criteria:
- Enrolled in or on the wait list for Quality First or
- Accredited by a national organization which is recognized by the Department of Education or Department of Economic Security
- Is a Head Start or Early Head Start Program
Please follow the steps below to PREPARE for REWARD$:
- Create a Registry account at azearlychildhood.org. To learn how to create a Registry account click here.
- Request your official transcripts to be sent to the Registry to verify the credits you have earned (even if transcripts have been provided to a QF Coach, have them submitted directly to the Registry)! Learn how to submit documentation click here. This process can take several weeks!
- Ask your employer to verify your employment information including: start date, salary, title, and assigned age group.
- Your employer will need administrative access to the Registry to verify your employment.
- Your employer must verify your employment within the Registry. Learn how
- Confirm your Registry Participant Education and Professional Development Report (PD Report). Note: REWARD$ eligibility and incentive level are determined from the information on this document, make sure it is up to date!
- Complete Statement of Lawful Presence Form which can be found in the Registry or by clicking here: Statement of Lawful Presence.
- Complete the REWARD$ by logging into the Arizona Registry and clicking on “Request REWARD$ Incentive” under My Scholarships.
- Upload the following documents to the Registry:
- Contact REWARD$ at email@example.com with questions.
- Continue checking your email account for updated communication.
- Allow at least 4 to 6 weeks for application review and payment processing.
The Professional REWARD$ Program is a First Things First statewide initiative offering a financial incentive to child care professionals working with children birth through age 5, not yet in kindergarten. Professional REWARD$ is administered by Central Arizona College, Early Childhood Education Department.
Your Career Lattice Level and REWARD$
Keep up with your coursework, advance to a higher Career Lattice Level, and continue to receive REWARD$. Grade C or better is required.
Career Lattice Level