Our History

The Northwest Institute of Research (NWIR) was incorporated as a 501(c) (3) organization in 1975. Its mission and function during the past three decades has evolved, in keeping with the changing funding streams and employee skill set.

When initially established, NWIR conducted applied social science research for a number of agencies, primarily in the evaluation and organizational development area. During the mid-80s through the late 90s, NWIR also maintained a training program for displaced workers, working under contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

For several years, from 1999 through 2005, NWIR was not active, but in 2005, with a new grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Human Services, we had a renewed purpose and direction with respect to the design and operation of a program related to workforce development.

Currently, NWIR’s primary function is to administer the Early Learning Resource Center Region 1, which is funded through the grant received from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning at the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and Department of Education. This funding includes an allocation from the federal Child Care Development Fund along with state dollars aimed at improving the quality of early care and education. Ultimately, the purpose of this statewide program is to improve the outcomes for young children as they prepare for school.

The Early Learning Resource Centers (there are 19 in total geographically dispersed across Pennsylvania) are the hub of child care information in your area. ELRCs provide you and your family with information on quality child care and personalized child care referrals to child care providers based on your specific needs or preferences. ELRCs also administer the Child Care Works subsidized child care program. If you have child care questions and needs, contact the ELRC for your local area or call the Child Care Works Helpline at 1-877-4-PA-KIDS.