Established in 1997, early education and childcare brand Lightbridge Academy began franchising in 2011. Since then, Lightbridge Academy has seen significant expansion outward from its home-state of New Jersey throughout the northeastern U.S. Currently, 40 Lightbridge Academies serve families across several states in the Mid-Atlantic, with over 70 locations currently in development.
Over the past three years, Lightbridge Academy has held regular training and development opportunities for franchisees at its New Jersey home office. The trainings have served to strengthen new franchisees’ commitment to cultivating a safe, nurturing learning environment for children—the very mission at the heart of Lightbridge Academy’s Circle of Care philosophy.
The family-focused early education and child care franchise regards each person whose life is touched by a Lightbridge Academy center as important and integral to creating a caring and nurturing learning environment. Lightbridge’s proprietary early education curriculum and child care services are offered to families with children ages six weeks through kindergarten, along with additional programs for school-aged children.
Lightbridge Academy has refined their concept by providing a variety of learning opportunities as part of their comprehensive franchisee training program. The program features online learning programs, seminar- and classroom-style trainings for interactivity among franchisees, along with hands-on, in-center observation and role-playing.
Lightbridge’s training program is housed in a 20,000-square-foot building. The Lightbridge Franchise Company’s home office is on the second floor, with a fully-operational Lightbridge Academy on the first. The ample space and dual environments provide valuable experiential learning for the numerous and varied situations that come with being an early education and child care provider.
“We equip our franchisees with a wonderful training opportunity so they can experience first-hand how to interact and engage with parents, conduct center tours, see curricula in action, learn how to on-board staff, and, most importantly, create an exceptional customer experience,” said Jackie Falzarano, Lightbridge Academy’s Vice President of Operations.
With over 20 years of experience operating child care centers, Lightbridge Academy has the proven track record to position franchisees for success—and by extension, the communities the brand serves. Falzarano stated that, through the training, Lightbridge has replicated their model and culture in franchise centers as well as provide everyone in the Circle of Care with the best possible experience.
“Our unique training design provides franchisees and their administrative teams with the opportunity to learn from others that are in the same phase of development, in addition to others that are more advanced and can share their insight and experiences,” Falzarano said. “This allows franchisees to observe, ask questions, network and role-play.”
Falzarano said that at the end of each training session, graduates take a survey to ensure that any concerns are identified in order to continuously improve and stay ahead of the curve. This proactive, feedback-friendly approach has allowed Lightbridge Academy to thrive, even amidst the volatile marketplace changes of the last two decades.
“We provide our franchisees a variety of trainings to create a rich learning environment,” said Falzarano. “Some are workshops. Others are taught classroom-style with subject matter experts brought in from our Home Office, including Development, Education, Marketing and Operations specialists. Other trainings take place in the form of hands-on or observational learning.”
After the franchisee and administrative teams have been onboarded and construction has begun on their Lightbridge location, the new franchisees are invited to the Home Office to participate in Owners Track, followed by three, one-week session trainings in Marketing, Education and Operations. In addition to support from their dedicated Franchise Business Coach, Lightbridge Academy franchisees can also leverage ongoing trainings across formats including classroom-style, video (through Lightbridge’s Online Learning Center), monthly Skype calls, Marketing Huddles and more.
“Currently, we utilize our flagship center, which is in the same building as our home office to conduct these trainings” said Falzarano. “However, we are in the midst of determining other centers that would be a great fit and extending this opportunity throughout the company.”
Falzarano said that, with Lightbridge Academy growing quickly across New Jersey and throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, the brand is now looking to create additional training centers as it expands.
The initial start-up cost for a Lightbridge Academy location is $549,228 to $767,635, with a franchise fee of $40,000. To learn more about franchising with Lightbridge Academy, visit http://lightbridgeacademyfranchise.com/.