- Kohl's announced Jan. 12 it will cover 100% of tuition, books and fees for its employees who enroll in a new employee learning benefit offered through Guild Education.
- Eligible employees will be able to earn degrees or certificates in majors such as business, technology, data analytics and supply chain, the announcement said. The program also offers courses for high school completion, college prep, English language and others.
- "We know Kohl's is filled with incredibly smart and talented people who have the capabilities to make a meaningful impact in a variety of areas of our business, but may not have the formal education or training to make the leap to a different department, or elevate to higher positions," said Marc Chini, Kohl's chief people officer. The company aims for the learning benefit to "alleviate" those barriers.
Retailers, including Kohl's, have pulled out the stops to both attract and retain talent in a market that's especially rough for the sector.
In July, for example, Kohl's promised bonuses worth $100 to $400 to workers in stores, distribution centers and e-commerce fulfillment positions who stayed on through the busy holiday season. The retailer also hosted its first nonseasonal hiring event in Summer 2021 to "keep pace with customer demand" – a problem for companies in a market in which workers are quitting at record pace.
Through learning benefits, employers aim to entice hourly workers to stay on – and Guild Education has been a leading name in establishing such programs across retail and food service companies. Both Target and Walmart have established programs with Guild that allow workers to obtain a degree at no cost. Waste Management also has a program with Guild that offers workers free access to degree programs – recently expanded to allow employees’ dependents to take part.
In general, learning offerings may be a good bet for employers; tech workers – also in high demand – said in an September 2021 survey they would leave a company over a lack of such opportunities.