Program Overview


Applications for the 2021 Groundwork Early Childhood Leadership Fellowship are now closed. 


Groundwork Ohio is excited to announce its second annual Early Childhood Leadership Fellowship cohort. The Fellowship will provide emerging early childhood professionals with essential training and support needed to enhance their leadership skills and talents. The Fellowship will inspire Fellows by utilizing a unique and engaging curriculum consisting of keynote speakers, online learning experiences, discussions with policymakers, networking opportunities, technical assistance, and a small group projects. Upon completion of the program, Fellows will have a better understanding on how to be a successful advocate for themselves, infants and toddlers, families, and their community.

Fellows selected for the program can expect to:

  • Gain an in-depth knowledge of the early childhood system in Ohio from experts in the field;

  • Master an understanding of how to navigate Ohio’s current political landscape;

  • Understand the importance of using an equity lens when advocating for change in practices and policies;

  • Engage with state and local policymakers;

  • Formulate strategies to advance existing or new coalitions within communities; 

  • Expand upon a network of early learning and development leaders;

  • Build leadership and strategic communication skills; 

  • Participate in team building exercises and experiential learning to create relationships within the cohort;

  • Expand access to resources and expertise on healthy development and early learning;

  • Develop and forge longstanding relationships among alumni;

  • Participate in exclusive Groundwork and other stakeholder events; and

  • Develop a plan to mobilize local communities around prioritizing infants and toddlers across the state.

Applicants will have the opportunity to indicate whether they will need financial assistance via a scholarship for the program when completing the application. This will not impact the selection process.


Note: this Fellowship program does not provide college credit.


Don't just take our word for it... hear what our 2020 Fellows have to say about their experience this year.

Learn the Details

Participant Qualifications:

Groundwork Ohio Early Childhood Leadership Fellows are passionate early childhood professionals to include home-based and center-based providers, home visitors, child welfare professionals, early childhood mental health providers, preschool educators, infant and maternal health professionals, higher education professionals educating future early educators, and more! Not sure if you’re qualified? >> Email Us!

Time Commitment and Expectations:

The program consists of 6, bi-monthly mandatory virtual sessions from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm on the following dates for the 2021 cohort:

  • Saturday, January 9th

  • Saturday, Mach 13th

  • Saturday, May 8th

  • Saturday, July 10th

  • Saturday, September 11th*

  • Saturday, December 11th*

There will also be non-mandatory check-in meetings on Wednesday, October 13th and Wednesday, November 10th from 7:30-8:30 AM.

In addition to the sessions listed above, Fellows are required to:

  • Following advocacy training, attend a thirty (30) minute virtual meeting with their district legislator during the week of March 15th (day and time varies depending on availability of legislator)​​​​​​​

  • Participate in at least three Groundwork Ohio webinars outside of the Fellowship required webinars (dates TBD);

  • Develop and present on a small group Early Childhood Capstone Experience project;

  • Coordinate with small groups during and outside of Fellowship hours; and,

* If deemed safe and appropriate, these meetings will be held in-person in Columbus. If COVID-19 continues to be a threat to health and safety, we will host these meetings virtually.

Questions about the time commitment and expectations? >> Email Us!

Application Process:

All applicants are required to apply via our website at: When completing the application form, applicants will be required to provide personal information, answers to a short answer question, and submit a signed electronic copy of the commitment form.

If you are self-employed, you can access the self-employed commitment form here:

If youare not self-employed, you can access the employee-employer commitment form here:

All applications are due no later than November 20, 2020 at 5 pm. Groundwork will notify selected applicants before the end of November.

Selected applicants will be invited to attend the 2020 Fellowship Cohort’s graduation ceremony on December 9th from 9-11:30 a.m. to listen to their action plans and celebrate their graduation.

Questions about the application process? >> Email Us!


The total program tuition fee for selected Fellows is $1,500 and it is due by no later than January 9, 2021. Groundwork Ohio is working to secure funds to offer scholarships for Fellows that request financial assistance. We encourage ALL interested early education and health professionals to apply for this program. Applicants will have the opportunity to indicate whether they will need financial assistance for the program on the application. This will not impact the selection process.

Questions about program tuition or other anticipated barriers to participation? >> Email Us!