- Brandman University has partnered with the Walt Disney Company to provide higher education to hourly workers through the theme park's Disney Aspire program, which was launched in August. The partnership is supported through education benefits platform Guild Education.
- Employees who have completed only 90 days of service to Disney will have the opportunity to participate in Disney Aspire. Participants will be eligible to have 100% of their tuition paid from the beginning, as well as receive compensation for course materials, textbooks, application and enrollment fees. Disney's more than 80,000 employees will have access.
- The program will allow employees to follow their career paths within Brandman's schools of Arts & Sciences, Business & Professional Studies, Education and Nursing & Health Professions. Participants will be able to utilize Brandman MyPath, the university's self-paced Competency-Based Education modality.
Disney announced its education program to employees this past summer. It's a move that doubles as an effort toward recruitment and retention as well as a bona fide education benefit.
Disney's program trends with other corporate learning initiatives. Walmart, for example, has rebranded its education program as an employee perk by subsidizing degree programming for staff members so that it costs employees only $1 per day. Discover also introduced a free degree program, just as Taco Bell expanded its educational support initiative.
Guild Education, the engine behind many of these new initiatives, recently raised $40 million in funding to expand its working learners programming. Supporting Brandman and other online universities and educational benefit initiatives, Guild focuses on the needs of adult students. With or without Guild's help, many employers have realized that these learning-focused programs are "must haves" when it comes to benefits; employees look for professional development opportunities, from tuition assistance programs to inner-company training sessions, when picking employers.