Let’s count the amenities at Prime’s Salt Lake City terminal.
There’s the Prime store, the full-sized basketball court, the gym, and in-house personal trainer, there are bunk rooms and showers, there’s a pet wash station and the spa and salon, and, of course, there’s the Prime Learning Center.
Just like the Springfield learning center, Salt Lake City’s kid zone caters to kids ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. But there’s one thing that makes Salt Lake City’s Learning Center a whole lot different from its sister location in Springfield—the Salt Lake City Learning Center is open to the general public.
The center opened January 7, 2021, just as Karry Pineda accepted the role of Director of the Leaning Center. Karry’s background in childcare goes back some 20 years, but she says she never dreamed her career would take her to a trucking company like Prime. But then again, having an in-house childcare facility really isn’t exactly standard in the trucking industry.
Before joining Prime, Karry spent eight years working at Head Start—an early education and development program that has locations all across the country. After that, she worked as a coordinator at a high school where she trained students to be childcare teachers. She also ran a childcare and preschool center out of her home, and she has a BA in family life and human development. She’s even going back to get her master’s degree in early childhood services thanks to Prime.
“I always knew I wanted to be a mom,” she says, “but my parents encouraged me to go to college.” Between her love of children and years of schooling and training, Karry found her passion taking care of kids. Then when she was ready for a new gig, she posted her resume online and got a request from Prime. “I thought, ‘hmmm. This is interesting,’” she says. “I never expected to find a learning center inside a trucking company.”
When she toured Prime’s Salt Lake City facility, any doubt she had melted away. “I suddenly really wanted the job,” she says laughing. “It was brand new! I could decorate and assemble the furniture. It felt like mine, and it felt good to put my own stamp on each room.”
When the center opened on January 7, Karry threw open the doors and welcomed the one little girl who was registered. “She was barely 2, and we hung out all day,” Karry says. “It was just the two of us, and to show you how much of a family Prime really is, the security guards here would come and bring me food and give me a break during the day. They knew I was down here alone.” That little act of kindness is also how Karry got her second student. One of the security guards had a 3-year-old daughter, and he asked if she could join the learning center.
Today the center has 10 kids. The youngest is barely 10 weeks old, and the oldest is 4. “That might not sound like a lot of kids,” Karry says, “but that means we quadrupled in size in just a year.” Karry is also not the only associate at the center. She has two other teachers working alongside her, and her goal is to eventually have 10 teachers that can oversee 66 kids.
To reach that number of children, Prime opened the doors of the learning center to the general public in Salt Lake City. Instead of only offering spots to in-house associates, families from around the town can now drop their kids off at Prime. Karry says the big news was announced this January, and already kids from outside the Prime family have been registered at the learning center. “Most of these parents live or work about 10 minutes from our location,” she says. “I let parents know that we’re located inside a trucking company, and most have never been on Prime’s campus.” Just like Karry on her first day touring the facility, she says every parent she’s shown around is always impressed.
Read more in the Prime Magazine, Prime Ways – Time to Train
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