Piedmont Athens Breaks Ground for New Employee Daycare Center

Athens, Ga. (July 20, 2017) - Today, Piedmont Athens Regional officials and community stakeholders gathered for a breaking ground ceremony to kick off the construction of the hospital's first employee childcare center.

The Piedmont Athens Regional Child Development Center, which is scheduled to open its doors in January 2018, will be a 5,000-square-foot building, with a 4,000-square-foot playground, open to all hospital employees with children, ages six-weeks to four-years old. The center will be open Monday through Friday, with extended hours from 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

"We are very excited to provide this benefit to our employees," Charles Peck, MD, Piedmont Athens Regional president and CEO, said. "The extended hours of operation will give our employees peace of mind that their children are being well cared for on our campus while they are working the unique hours that healthcare requires."

The Child Development Center will have six classrooms available, with 16 full-time staff, and will be managed by Prodigies Child Care Management, based in Athens. 
"I am really looking forward to coordinating efforts and bringing our experience in childcare operations to such a great facility," Wes Zwirn, Prodigies Child Care Management president, who also manages and owns several other local childcare facilities and is the Georgia Childcare Association Board of Directors vice president, said. "This is going to be an excellent resource for Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center employees and will lessen the stress of worrying about childcare."

The Child Development Center is made possible by several donors; the largest donation made was through the Piedmont Athens Regional employee giving program, which donated a total of $250,000. Other donors include the Theodore and Betty Eckels Foundation, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Department of Early Care and Learning, Lewis Scruggs, and multiple gifts in memory of Bobbie Burkett.

For more information on Piedmont Athens Regional, visit piedmont.org



Why should employers care about families?

Rose Marcario

President and CEO of Patagonia

The poet Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better” – but despite everything we know about the tangible and intangible benefits of taking care of our working families, collectively, we American business leaders provide paid family leave to just 11% of U.S. workers.

Up to 35 percent of working women in the United States who give birth never return to their jobs. And those who do return to work after the birth of a child find an unsupportive environment lacking on-site child care, lactation programs, and paid medical leave.

Given these realities, we don’t have to scratch our heads and wonder why there is an alarming lack of women in positions of leadership, boardrooms, and public office. Women will never be able to effectively “lean in” without the proper economic, social, and community support for the most critical work of all: raising the next generation.

The good news for skeptical business leaders: Supporting our working families with onsite child-care isn’t just the ethical thing to do (which, frankly, should be all we need if we are to be responsible leaders), it will also balance out financially.

At Patagonia, we’ve operated an onsite child development center at our headquarters in Ventura, Calif., for 33 years. For our founders, it just seemed like the right thing to do back when the company was just starting out – and our employees, in turn, give more to the company because it acts as a partner in life, not an obstacle.

As Patagonia has grown significantly, especially in recent years, our on-site child care program has continued to play a major role in driving our success. We enjoy the sound of kids playing around our campus, and math nets out, too – making my decision last year to expand on-site child care to our 400-employee distribution center in Reno, Nevada, a no brainer.      

As Patagonia’s chief executive, here’s how I think about it:

Tax Benefits—Costs Recouped: 50% 

The federal government recognizes the value of on-site child care to both working parents and the economy and grants a qualified child care program a yearly tax credit of $150,000. In addition, the government allows a company to deduct 35 percent of its unrecovered costs from its corporate tax bite.

Employee Retention—Costs Recouped: 30%

Turnover is expensive – including lost productivity while the position is vacant, plus recruitment, relocation, and training time. This can range from 35 percent of annual salary for a nonmanagerial employee, to 125 percent of salary for a manager, to a couple of years’ pay for a director or vice president.

At Patagonia, for the past five years, we’ve seen 100 percent of moms return to work after maternity leave. The availability of on-site child care remains important for allowing mothers to breast-feed infants on demand. For the past five years, our turnover rate for parents who have children in the program has run 25 percent less than for our general employee population.

Employee Engagement—Costs Recouped: 11%

The term engagement describes how an employee feels about his or her job and employer. Higher engagement creates higher levels of customer satisfaction and business performance. Studies indicate that when parents have access to high-quality, on-site child care at work, they are more engaged—even more so than colleagues as a whole—and that increased engagement means the company does better financially.

Bottom Line—Costs Recouped: 91%

In sum, we estimate that we recover 91 percent of our calculable costs annually. We’re not alone. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., has estimated returns of 115 percent for its child-care program; and global business consultant KPMG found that its clients with onsite child-care earned a return on investment (ROI) of 125 percent.

Of course, this quantifiable picture leaves out the obvious intangible benefits of providing on-site child care: more women in management (at Patagonia, women make up 50 percent of our workforce, including 50 percent of upper management positions); greater employee loyalty; stronger workplace culture; and more. If we could quantify these positive impacts, an overall ROI of 115-125 percent on our own program wouldn’t surprise me.

I’ve been fortunate to see these benefits firsthand, and I strongly believe the business community should feel confident in taking the leap and adopting onsite child-care and other policies that support working families – not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because your business will find greater financial success too.

To help share our story, Patagonia has just published a new book, called “Family Business,” designed to help employers, child development practitioners and others take advantage of everything we’ve learned over 33 years. I encourage you to check it out – or follow up with a wide variety of additional resources available  to understand the benefits of on-site child care.

It’s true, there are financial costs to offering on-site child care, and they can be expensive if you offer high-quality programs or subsidize your employees’ tuition when on-site care is not available.



Athens company to manage campus child care facility

UGA Today

By: Wendy Jones

Athens, Ga. - Prodigies Child Care Management, LLC-which owns and operates Little Prodigies in Athens-has been chosen through a competitive process to be the provider of childcare services for the new University of Georgia childcare center to open on the UGA Health Sciences Campus in January.

The center will be open to the children of all faculty, staff and students as well as children from the community if space allows. The center will serve 146 children ages six weeks through four years, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. A sliding tuition scale based on family income will make the center more accessible to a larger, and more diverse, cross section of the UGA community. Up to 20 percent of the children may qualify for a discounted rate.

"We are pleased to be able to fulfill this significant need of our faculty, staff and students," said Tim Burgess, senior vice president for finance and administration. "Our selection team-comprised of faculty and staff representatives, including child development experts and parents-went through a rigorous process to identify which private company would provide the best quality services and the most feasible economic model, based on a sound business plan. We look forward to working with the childcare professionals of Little Prodigies."

The center will be licensed by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning and will meet the National Association for the Education of Young Children standards in the areas of curriculum and staffing including student to teacher ratios, group size and continuing education for teachers.

"We are a local company with experience in running a center that caters to many UGA students, staff, faculty and local Athenians," said Wes Zwirn, owner of Little Prodigies. "We understand the eclectic lifestyles of our families and the expectations they have with regards to the care of their children. Our goal is to offer first-class childcare, and we are eager to become a part of the new UGA Health Sciences Campus."

In 2008, the University of Georgia conducted a comprehensive childcare needs assessment study to better understand the needs of its faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students. The survey findings, focus group participant feedback, and community supply analysis supported the need for additional university-sponsored childcare: 74 percent of all survey respondents said they would be very likely to use a university-sponsored childcare center; and 92 percent of all survey respondents supported the development of a university-sponsored center. The focus groups pointed to the inherent benefits a campus-sponsored childcare center would have on recruiting and retaining talented faculty and students, as well as improving productivity.

A faculty-staff childcare advisory committee will be formed in the coming months. The committee will work with UGA Human Resources and Prodigies Child Care Management to ensure that the needs of the campus community are being met on a continual basis.



Parents and caregivers need an independent, trustworthy resource to help them find quality child care, preschool and Pre-K programs. That’s where Georgia’s Quality Rated comes in.

Quality Rated is Georgia’s system to determine, improve, and communicate the quality of programs that provide child care. Similar to rating systems for restaurants and hotels, Quality Rated assigns one, two or three stars to early education and school-age care programs that meet or exceed the minimum state requirements. By participating in Georgia’s voluntary Quality Rated program, programs make a commitment to work continuously to improve the quality of care they provide to children and families.  www.families.decal.ga.gov