McDonald’s Corporation today announced it will allocate $150 million over five years to its global Archways to Opportunity education program. This investment will provide almost 400,000 U.S. restaurant employees with accessibility to the program as the company will also lower eligibility requirements from nine months to 90 days of employment and drop weekly shift minimums from 20 hours to 15 hours. Additionally, McDonald’s will also extend some education benefits to restaurant employees’ family members. These enhancements underscore McDonald’s and its independent franchisees’ commitment to providing jobs that fit around the lives of restaurant employees so they may pursue their education and career ambitions.
The Archways to Opportunity program provides eligible U.S. employees an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, receive upfront college tuition assistance, access free education advising services and learn English as a second language.
“Our commitment to education reinforces our ongoing support of the people who play a crucial role in our journey to build a better McDonald’s,” said Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s President and CEO. “By offering restaurant employees more opportunities to further their education and pursue their career aspirations, we are helping them find their full potential, whether that’s at McDonald’s or elsewhere.”
Accelerated by changes in the U.S. tax law, McDonald’s increased investment in the Archways to Opportunity Program includes:
- Increased Tuition Investment:
- Crew: Eligible crew will have access to $2,500/year, up from $700/year.
- Managers: Eligible Managers will have access to $3,000/year, up from $1,050.
- Participants have a choice for how they apply this funding – whether it be to a community college, four year university or trade school. There is no lifetime cap on tuition assistance – restaurant employees will be able to pursue their education and career passions at their own pace. The new tuition assistance is effective May 1, 2018 and retroactive to January 1, 2018.
- Lowered Eligibility Requirements: Increase access to the program by lowering eligibility requirements from nine months to 90 days of employment. In addition, dropping from 20 hours minimum to 15 hours minimum (roughly two full time shifts) per week to enable restaurant employees more time to focus on studies.
- Extended Services to Families: Extension of Career Online High School and College Advisory services to restaurant employees’ family members through existing educational partners Cengage and Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).
- Additional Resources: Career exploration resources for eligible restaurant employees to be available later this year.
- Creation of an International Education Fund: Grants to provide local initiatives and incentives in global markets to further education advancement programs.
“Since its inception, Archways to Opportunity was meant to match the ambition and drive of restaurant crew with the means and network to help them find success on their own terms,” said David Fairhurst, McDonald’s Chief People Officer. “By tripling tuition assistance, adding education benefits for family members and lowering eligibility requirements to the equivalent of a summer job, we are sending a signal that if you come work at your local McDonald’s, we’ll invest in your future.”
After launching in the U.S. in 2015, Archways to Opportunity has increased access to education for over 24,000 people and awarded over $21 million in high school and college tuition assistance. Graduates have received college degrees in Business Administration, Human Resources, Communications, Accounting, Microbiology and more.
“Without the forethought, planning and initiative by all employers, we will not fully prepare today’s workforce for tomorrow’s economy,” said Maria K. Flynn, president and CEO, JFF a national nonprofit that builds educational and economic opportunity for underserved populations in the United States. “McDonald’s enhanced offering to employees – and their families – for increased access to further education is the kind of corporate investment that ensures an opportunity for all in the future economy.”
“McDonald’s is making it easier for workers to access education benefits and they are making those benefits more generous. The fact that they are extending the Career Online High School program and their college advisory services to family members of workers can be game changing for some families,” said Jamie Fall, director, The Aspen Institute’s Upskill America. “Plus, paying the tuition up-front for workers instead of through a reimbursement process allows far more workers to take advantage of the program. These are all very positive advancements to their Archways to Opportunity program.”
McDonald’s is the world’s leading global foodservice retailer with over 37,000 locations in 120 markets. Over 90 percent of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business men and women.