Online Learning Pioneer Acquires Leading Training Provider for the Early Childhood Education Workforce

StraighterLine expands its focus on flexible, career-aligned credentials with the acquisition of ChildCare Education Institute

StraighterLine, a creator of affordable,flexible and career-aligned postsecondary courses, today announced the acquisition of ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI), one of the largest online training providers for early childhood education professionals. The addition of the early childhood education learning platform, which served more than 87,000 teachers and staff across more than 6,200 childcare centers in 2021, reflects StraighterLine’s commitment to expanding access to training that closes persistent talent gaps and creates pathways to economic mobility.

“As the pace of change in the labor market continues to accelerate, employers in fast-growing fields – from early childhood education to healthcare – are in search of new approaches to talent development that bridge the gap between learning and work,” said Heather Combs, CEO of StraighterLine. “This acquisition is about helping to further the promise of flexible, affordable education to both meet the needs of employers and help more people chart a path to rewarding careers.”

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated staffing challenges, the nation’s childcare programs had long struggled with a shortage of qualified early childhood education and care professionals and high turnover rates. A 2021 study from the National Association for the Education of Young Children found that more than eight in 10 early childhood providers were experiencing staffing shortages, and half were serving fewer children as a result of hiring problems. Just this month, the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment reported that childcare employment is still down more than 8% since the start of the pandemic, even as the broader economy recovers.

Since its founding in 2005, CCEI has launched more than 500 online childcare training courses to meet state licensure and Head Start requirements, as well as online certificate programs for nationally recognized credentials, including the Child Development Associate (CDA), Director Certificate, Early Childhood Credential, and other continuing education options. CCEI also manages the RegistryOne workforce management system, which helps state agencies and regulators collect and maintain data around early childhood education.  “There is an urgent need for qualified early care and education workers across the nation,” said Maria Taylor, president of CCEI. “This acquisition is about building more lifelong learning opportunities that give passionate individuals flexible pathways to careers. We are excited to join the StraighterLine family and further expand the potential entry points into this meaningful profession.”

The continued evolution of StraighterLine’s offerings comes as most Americans continue to be skeptical about the value of postsecondary education and its alignment with jobs. Best known for its low-cost, competency-based courses that are recommended by ACE Learning Evaluations, StraighterLine supports learners by providing flexible and affordable pathways to their career goals. Through its partnerships with employers, including through Bright Horizons FastTrack, learners can upskill while working on a schedule and at a pace that meets their needs.

This acquisition is a first step in StraighterLine’s plan to expand its course offerings, building on a significant investment by BV Investment Partners in April 2020. District Capital Partners served as the financial advisor and Ropes & Gray LLP served as the legal advisor to StraighterLine for this transaction.

To learn more about StraighterLine’s courses and pathways, visit

About StraighterLine

StraighterLine is the leading provider of high-quality, affordable, online courses that help learners earn college credit and meet their professional goals. Each year, 150,000 learners take one of StraighterLine’s 215 courses to upskill into new careers or earn credit from over 2,000 colleges and universities worldwide. StraighterLine works with institutions and corporate partners to provide their students and employees with flexible education options that allow them to work and learn at their own pace. Visit for more information.

About ChildCare Education Institute, LLC

ChildCare Education Institute® provides high-quality, distance education certificates and child care training programs in an array of child care settings, including preschool centers, family child care, prekindergarten classrooms, nanny care, online daycare training and more. Over 500 hours of English and Spanish child care training courses are available online to meet licensing, recognition program, and Head Start Requirements. CCEI also has online certification programs that provide the coursework requirement for national credentials including the CDA, Director and Early Childhood Credentials. CCEI, a Council for Professional Recognition CDA Gold Standard™ training provider, is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).