Is education care the new elder care?
When West Pharmaceutical Services, a medical device company headquartered in Exton, Pennsylvania, surveyed employees at its corporate head office, it found that roughly 8% of the 400 employees at that location were interested in either receiving more information about special-needs education or receiving immediate help to navigate the school system for their special-needs child.
The company brought in Debra Schafer, CEO and founder of Education Navigation, a firm that helps parents advocate on behalf of their special-needs children. She calls her services education care, and the benefits are designed to increase the engagement and productivity of employees with children in need of specialized support and/or education services in school.
Employers understand the elder care arena very well. They dont understand, necessarily, the education arena and that its typically 12-plus years of an employees life cycle that theyre dealing with these issues.
Consultants with Education Navigation will come in to organizations and conduct workshops, lunch-and-learns and webinars, as well as offer one-on-one consultations with employees. The firms services are also available as a voluntary benefit.
West Pharmaceutical Services pays for up to three hours of services from Education Navigation as an employee benefit. Its money well-spent, says Bethany Barnes, HR benefits specialist.
People are really appreciative, knowing our company wanted to help them, she says. A lot of employees just didnt know where to go when they needed these types of services they were overwhelmed.
West Pharmaceutical Services has since expanded access to Education Navigations services to two of its other locations in Pennsylvania.
We have such a diverse workforce, says Barnes. We want to make sure were offering benefits that can reach everybody.