- Ride-hailing company Lyft has partnered with Guild Education, an education benefits company, to offer Lyft drivers opportunities to further their education — an unusual move in the gig economy.
- Guild will offer Lyft drivers access to tuition discounts, personalized academic counseling for courses, and certificates and degrees from 80 online non-profit institutions. Programs offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees and GED skills, vocational courses, English-as-a-second-language instruction and certificates in such subjects as Data Science.
- Students also have access to an advisor to explore career options and financial assistance and ongoing coaching. Guild says it vets all schools in its network to make sure students are served by legitimate and trusted providers.
Offering education opportunities as a career-advancing benefit can be an invaluable recruiting tool. The gig economy isn't known for developing its contract workers. But Lyft, along with its partner, Guild, could change the relationship between companies and gig workers and attract more workers for hire.
Hiring contingency workers began as a cost-effective way for employers to increase staffing without the cost of healthcare coverage, retirement plans, pensions or other employee perquisites. But the rapid and widespread growth in independent contractors, freelancers, consultants and temporary hires — as well as the growing legal challenges to the model — has employers looking to innovate. Some lawmakers may be looking to change labor laws to protect these workers' rights, earnings and safety, though little movement has been made yet.
A new Randstad Sourceright study addresses the tremendous growth in contingency workers while also acknowledging their lack of benefits. Gig workers, many of whom hold low-paid, dangerous jobs, would be covered by workers' compensation if they were full-time permanent employees. They're also more likely than employees to find themselves between jobs for long stretches of time, which would make them eligible for unemployment insurance.