CUMBERLAND — The Children’s Workshop, a family owned, parent-operated chain of early education schools and child care centers, has branded its business options under a new corporate child care benefits program, Family First.
The Children’s Workshop offers high-quality child care and education for children aged 6 weeks to 12 years in most of its 19 locations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, with programs for infants, toddlers, preschool, pre-K and before and after school care.
Margaret Teller, CEO, said the average cost of child care for families is about $20,000 per year. Given the current labor market, providing workers’ families relief for that expense can give them an edge on recruiting and maintaining talent, she said.
Businesses that join Family First can access custom-designed benefits packages built specifically for employees with children. The program will include discounts, priority access to available slots, parenting classes and workshops and summer program enrollment benefits.
“We think it’s a great opportunity for employers to step up and show their commitment,” Teller said.
Some companies offer some child care benefits, including providing back-up care for when a parent’s child care option falls through, Teller said. But that doesn’t address the year-round cost of child care itself.
“It’s very powerful, the impact this will have,” Teller said.
She said Children’s Workshop has been in talks with a few companies about Family First, and have signed up one business, Premeer Real Estate, for Family First so far.
The Family First Program is customizable to a business’s needs. The program offers a sliding scale for discounts and additional perks to area businesses.
Chris Whitten, broker/owner of Premeer, has been bringing his five children to Children’s Workshop for the last 13 years. His 15 agents work as independent contractors, so they don’t receive formal benefits packages. But by partnering with Children’s Workshop through Family First, he said, he was able to offer the roughly 60 percent of his agents who have children an option to pay for child care.
Offering the option is important from his family-vales perspective, he said, as well as that of a business owner aiming to make his business attractive to current and prospective agents.
“Our offices are family friendly, the majority of our charity work revolves around children and their families so it’s only natural to offer this great program to our agents and their families,” Whitten said.
“When they make accessing quality child care easier for their employees, businesses attract and retain talent and increase productivity at work. We often hear that organizations claim to have a ‘family first’ company culture. This program allows businesses to make good on those claims, Teller said.
Rob Borkowksi is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Borkowksi@PBN.com.