The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (UGA SBDC) provides expertise in a wide array of business sectors, offering consulting and training opportunities that set up small businesses for success.
During the pandemic, many business owners in the child care industry struggled to keep their businesses afloat. Labor shortages, pandemic closures and added safety requirements all contributed to a difficult operating environment for existing centers and served as a deterrent to the opening of new ones. Child care center closures caused a trickle-down effect on small businesses, as many owners and employees could not get back to work without reliable child care.
Alyssa Foskey, area director at the UGA SBDC at Valdosta State University, recognized the need to add additional consulting and training opportunities to support small business owners within the child care industry.
“After the pandemic started, I had several child care clients reach out for assistance and I was learning about their industry alongside them,” said Foskey.
Foskey’s research led her to develop contacts within agencies like the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL). She quickly became a subject matter expert for other UGA SBDC consultants across the state working with child care clients.
“DECAL was a great resource for me and my clients as I learned the industry’s rules and regulations,” said Foskey.
In 2022, DECAL began developing the Thriving Child Care Business Academy (the Academy), a new online platform of no-cost training and resources for child care business owners. The agency turned to Foskey to create training webinars focused on financial management, human resources, marketing and workplace leadership. She will lead a series of four two-hour training sessions for the Academy.
“There are many great resources out there to help enhance the educational component of early child care businesses,” said Foskey. “This training focuses more on the business side of child care, educating business owners on the best business management practices. They have a heart for the business. This training will give them the skills they need for their businesses to thrive.”
DECAL chose Foskey based on her knowledge of small business management best practices and her experience delivering business training to Georgia child care providers.
“We wanted to include Alyssa’s webinars in the Academy because we believe they will complement the other free training and provider supports we’re offering to help child care businesses become more stable and self-sustaining,” said Bentley Ponder, deputy commissioner for quality innovations and partnerships at DECAL.
The Academy is open to all child care center owners and administrators in Georgia. Participants will learn topics including budgeting, accounting, organizational leadership, recruitment and retention, enrollment management and marketing. Individuals who complete the live training courses will earn state-approved training hours and those who complete a full training series may be eligible for a stipend.
“We are grateful Alyssa has taken the initiative to grow the UGA SBDC’s knowledge base of the child care industry and cultivate a valued partnership with DECAL,” said Allan Adams, state director of the UGA SBDC. “Her knowledge strengthens child care businesses in Georgia and, as a result, helps stabilize the state’s workforce by allowing employees to go to work knowing their children have a safe place to be each day.”
The Thriving Child Care Business Academy is now available. For additional information, visit www.decal.ga.gov/Thriving