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Lightbridge Academy Announces Childcare Education Institute Partnership to Help Recruit and Retain Standout Employees

With more than 1,700 employees in 60 centers nationwide, Lightbridge Academy will now offer CCEI courses and training to provide career advancement opportunities for its employees and a higher-quality education for its students.

By Paul Mueller1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSORED 10:10AM 09/06/22

Lightbridge Academy®, the early education and child care franchise with more than 130 centers open or under development across the United States, has partnered with the Childcare Education Institute (CCEI) to support the development of its team members and to aid in the recruitment and retention of teachers in its centers. Founded in 1997, Lightbridge Academy serves children from six weeks through six years old, and its partnership with CCEI advances its goal to provide the best professional development available for its staff.

“This partnership instantly adds over 150 trainings to our Learning Management System that all teachers and admins can access,” said Jennifer Romanoff, Lightbridge’s vice president of curriculum and professional development. “So we just increased exponentially the amount of professional development that a teacher and an administrator can take.”

CCEI, an online childcare training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, features a Gold Standard. Child Development Associate (CDA) Program with over 150 courses available for childcare professionals. These courses range from diversity and inclusion training, to infant and toddler care, to administration management, providing a wealth of growth opportunities for childcare professionals.

Lightbridge currently operates in seven states, and it’s expanding rapidly. Many states require that institutions provide professional development for their staff, but the approved and accepted training programs can vary by state, presenting a challenge to offering uniform opportunities across all Lightbridge’s centers. The CCEI partnership solves this issue, as CCEI’s training courses meet licensing, recognition program and federal Head Start requirements. 

CCEI also offers online certificate programs that help meet the coursework requirements for national credentials, such as the (CDA), online director credentialsearly childhood credentials, renewals, custom programs and other continuing education options.

“I love the fact that they even offer director classes, because there are so many teachers inside the classroom that are ready for the next step,” said Dana Mazur, a Lightbridge center director in Charlotte, North Carolina. “I'm somebody who likes to promote from within. So if you're working hard to obtain a new goal or new position, platforms like CCEI can make all the difference. I really feel like being able to provide those resources for teachers is something that they are excited about.”

The benefits of the Lightbridge–CCEI partnership reach beyond educators alone. 

Lightbridge is an organization that operates under a set of core values along with its Circle of Care® philosophy and aims to maintain a focus on each segment of its ecosystem — the children, parents, franchise owners, community and its employees — to make sure the brand delivers a level of experience and service that's unmatched in the industry. The teachers are at the center of this, and the franchise owners play an integral role as well, which is why Lightbridge prioritizes franchisee support as it does.

“For me,” said Romanoff, “as a former teacher and being in charge of the teaching program and the training, I always say that happy teachers make happy children, happy children make happy parents and happy parents stay — and they refer others. This makes happy owners, and happy owners can then give back to everyone within the Circle of Care, including the community.”

To help cultivate happy teachers, CCEI trainings will be free for Lightbridge educators, providing opportunities for professional development and career advancement. This is a crucial offering at a time when schools nationwide are dealing with an unprecedented staffing crisis, with 567,000 fewer educators in America’s public schools right now than there were before the pandemic, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Our staff members are really looking for more than just a job,” said Romanoff. “They're changing the world because they're educating young children, but they're also looking for jobs that give them more than just a paycheck. They want an employer that is invested in them. So I think this partnership really comes at a key moment in time for these educators.”

The CCEI partnership is designed to impact everyone in the Lightbridge ecosystem, from franchise owners, to teachers, all the way down to the children themselves, who will receive a higher level of education as a result of better-trained teachers and a positive, growth-focused environment.

“Ultimately, we're all here for the children,” said Romanoff. “And when we can elevate our teachers, that just elevates our program in general and makes us the child care of choice. It's that Circle of Care philosophy where we're investing in everyone, and the teachers are really at the center of that.”

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About Lightbridge Academy: 

Established in 1997, the company was founded as a family business based on core values and a Circle of Care philosophy that places equal importance on the needs of children, their families, teachers, center owners and the community. Lightbridge Academy provides quality early education and child care programs to children aged six weeks through kindergarten. The company currently has over 120 child care centers either open or in development throughout Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia. In response to COVID-19, Lightbridge Academy launched The Lightbridge Promise as the Gold Standard for health & safety in the child care industry. In 2022, Lightbridge Academy was featured on Entrepreneur Magazine's Franchise 500 following ranking the previous year. In 2020, the company was featured on the Inc. 5000 ranking, Franchise Times Top 200+ awards, and on Newsweek’s 2021 list of America’s Best Customer Service.

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