The U.S. child care industry is in the middle of a massive growth spurt—and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Today, there are more than 786,584 child care establishments throughout the country. And together, these businesses support nearly 1.7 million direct jobs and generate more than $48 billion in economic output.
Much of the child care industry’s skyrocketing success has to do with the increased demand for its services—between 2006 and 2010, the percentage of parents reporting child care as a necessity rose from 49 percent to 57 percent. Now, there’s an estimated 14.5 million children enrolled in some form of child care service in the U.S. alone. And with predictions that this segment is only expected to grow, the child care industry is paving the way for brands like Lightbridge Academy to make a real and lasting impact in more communities than ever before.
“The child care industry is truly one of the fastest-growing segments in the entire franchise industry. It has experienced strong and sustained growth over the years, and although it’s not recession-free, it certainly is recession-resistant. People will always need someone to care for their children,” said Gigi Schweikert, the President and Chief Operating Officer for Lightbridge Academy.
With that increased demand for child care services comes the need for something much more than just the traditional child care center. In the coming years, parents will require more flexibility and more personalized care. That’s where Lightbridge Academy comes in. And, with 85 locations either open or in development, it’s quickly becoming a pioneer in the industry thanks to its “Circle of Care” belief—a philosophy that takes into consideration the needs of parents, staff, the local community and owners in order to create a supportive and nurturing learning environment for the child.
“Child care has been around for a very long time, but for decades, parents typically found these services through small mom and pop daycares. The focus was on caring for the child but not on offering a high quality education. Then, in the early ‘90s, a shift started to occur—larger national brands hit the marketplace to meet the rising demand, and they were able to provide the support and resources that smaller companies simply couldn’t compete with,” said Guy Falzarano, the founder and CEO of Lightbridge Academy. “Today’s parents have higher expectations from their child care centers—they want to feel more connected to their children and they need more flexibility in schedules. And our ability to offer this has helped to fueled Lightbridge Academy’s success.”
What Falzarano is referring to is Lightbridge Academy’s ParentView® internet monitoring system. Every classroom, as well as the multi-purpose room and outdoor learning environment, is equipped with two cameras enabling parents to check in on their child’s progress by logging in to watch a live stream of their children. Lightbridge Academy also offers a state of the art security system and a parent eCommunication app that provides parents with real-time updates, photos and videos.
“We’re seeing Lightbridge Academy grow in more and more marketplaces because more parents are demanding these kind of services, and they’re not finding what they need in smaller companies. That has opened up an in-demand niche, and Lightbridge Academy has thrived by filling it,” Falzarano said.
But even more than its technology, Lightbridge Academy has risen to the top of the child care industry by tending to parents’ personal and emotional needs, too. At the heart of each Lightbridge Academy center is a strong foundation of core family values and an emphasis on growing a culture that lives by and reinforces them.
“As the child care industry continues to expand, the key for us has been maintaining that Circle of Care philosophy in everything we do. Whether we have five centers or 85, one thing will always remain the same—they all feel like home the second you walk through the doors,” Falzarano said. “We are an extension of their family—parents need to be able to trust us. And that will remain our key to success as the child care industry continues to grow.”
With demand for these kind of top-notch child care services only expected to rise in the years ahead, Lightbridge Academy’s goal now is to bring its trusted services to even more families. With over 85 franchises sold—60 of which are currently open, under construction or in development—the brand is perfectly positioned to continue experiencing rapid growth in prime territories throughout the U.S.
“We see the child care segment as a growing one with immense potential—as long as there are children, there will be a need for child care. For that reason, there’s boundless opportunity,” Falzarano said. “Lightbridge Academy thrives in every market we enter and are comfortable competing against other major brands. For that reason, there’s never been a better time to invest in Lightbridge Academy and the child care industry as a whole.”