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Pathway Program

The Pathway Program (Pathway) program is a comprehensive and aligned professional development trainer and training system for the state’s early childhood education (ECE) workforce. It provides an accessible avenue of professional development, particularly for Family Child Care (FCC) and other Home-Based child care providers. It also provides consistent standards for trainers and promotes professional development training to support early childhood professionals with finding and choosing training opportunities. Additionally, Pathway enables offering and tracking training in early childhood education topic areas aligned with the California Department of Education Early Childhood Education Competencies. It was first launched in Los Angeles County in 2010 as the Gateways for Early Educators™ (Gateways) and has been integrated with the California Early Care and Education Workforce Registry since 2016. The program is now being expanded, and renamed Pathway, as an option for other counties to implement towards a statewide system and accessible professional development pathway.

Gateways Pathway Program

The Pathway Trainer Approval process gives trainers the opportunity to showcase their experience and formal education background in early childhood. This process also allows trainers to demonstrate their knowledge of adult learning principles, their experience presenting workshops and training sessions to diverse adult learners, and early childhood professionals. Trainers must also display knowledge of the CA ECE Competencies and how their trainings are in alignment with the twelve competencies. Trainer approval is required of trainers who are interested in conducting trainings for any one of the CCALA member agencies.



The Pathway model is designed to achieve the following statewide system goals:

Professional Development System Goals

Provide access for each county throughout the state
Leverage resources and infrastructure for cost-effectiveness and sustainability
Easily track professional development (PD) providers, the workforce, and state and county administrators
Build on the state’s work on Transforming the Workforce: Birth to Eight workgroups, the Training and Training Approval Process workgroup, and various efforts of First 5 CA, California Department of Education, and WestEd
Includes a Trainer and Training Approval process to promote high quality trainings offered by approved trainers


Individual Participation

Participants can expect access to training opportunities that not only consistently align with the California Department of Education Early Childhood Education Competencies, but also:

  • Promotes quality professional development in the field of Early Childhood Education.
  • Extends content knowledge in support of improving and deepening practice.
  • Respects and understands diversity among participants as adult learners.
  • Incorporates strategies to ensure learning experiences are effective and relevant for participants.
  • Assesses and evaluates intended learning outcomes with participants’ perspectives in mind.


County Participation

Each participating county should designate a main liaison with the Registry for efforts to coordinate on behalf of their county in the Gateways Pathway administration for activities such as conducting and approving trainings, including trainer approval.  Registry staff will support these efforts. 

County participation will be tracked at multiple levels.   

  • Individual training organizations will have data and reports available, with identifiable data on those that participate in their training activities. 
  • Lead agency will have access to an aggregate, anonymized county-wide data on all Pathway participant progress.

To learn more about becoming a Pathway Trainer

  • Go to the Trainer tab or
  • Login to the Registry and go to Instructor Request/Tools

Helpful Resources