Voices from the Idaho EdNews Community

Education-savings accounts will help employers stand out in the job market

Hayden Beverage is a family business, doing business as a family. As a second-generation owner, I have an obligation to our employees because many of them have been with the company since I was a child. I understand and appreciate that their hard work and commitment helped to put me through college. When the Idaho Legislature gave businesses the green light to use IDeal – Idaho’s 529 College Savings Program as a perk for employees, I jumped on the chance to help Hayden Beverage employees and their families save for higher education.

I recognize the challenge of saving money when it’s needed right now for bills, groceries, and other urgent expenses. Our goal has been to incentivize employees to contribute to their IDeal account by matching their savings up to $5,000 annually.

This program has bolstered our company’s benefits package, helping to make it an even more essential part of the family-business culture at Hayden Beverage. We know from experience it’s a valuable tool to recruit and retain quality employees. We offer a list of benefits to our employees, including non-traditional things such as free beer and wine every month. But many of our team members say their IDeal account sits atop the list of favorites. There’s no requirement or expectation to contribute to their account, but as a company we are committed to matching their savings to build on the funds they can afford to set aside for education.

The number of employees using the IDeal benefit has grown over time and it’s used in a variety of ways. One employee has started saving for her daughter’s future education expenses. Another employee has two daughters who also work for Hayden Beverage, so we match the savings in all three of their accounts. The daughters are currently attending college and they still work here part-time. In a way, we’re helping to fund their education in real-time. We also have an employee who was spending so much of their money paying their own college debt that she couldn’t afford to save for her kids. However, she was able to use her IDeal account to pay down her student loans with the help of our match so she can start investing in her children’s future education.

People want to work for a company that cares about their employees and their families. IDeal is a unique benefit that more Idaho companies should consider offering as part of their overall benefits package. Doing so sends a clear message that we prioritize improving the lives of our employees.

IDeal helps Hayden Beverage in many ways. Businesses that participate in the savings match receive a state tax advantage. In addition, reducing economic barriers to attending college or technical programs improves the overall quality of the Idaho workforce.

I know IDeal is good for our company and our state. But the best part is hearing about the success stories of our employees and their children. When I hear employees talking to each other about their IDeal accounts and the difference it has made in their lives, I know that we are a family business doing business as a family.

Dodds Hayden

Dodds Hayden

Dodds Hayden is the owner and CEO of Hayden Beverage. He was born and raised in Boise. Dodds Hayden served as a marine officer and has been President or CEO of Hayden Beverage since 2006.

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