Papa John's to offer free degrees to corporate employees
To provide its corporate team members with opportunities for growth and learning, Papa John's pizza has launched a new partnership with Purdue University Global, the company announced. The Dough & Degrees program will cover 100% of tuition costs for undergraduate and graduate degrees through Purdue Global's online platform.
Courses are open to eligible employees in any of the associate, bachelor's or master's degrees that Purdue Global's online program supports, including business, IT, cybersecurity, finance and accounting degrees. A company spokesperson said that the program will not only allow existing employees to improve their skill sets, but will help the company be an "employer of choice" for job seekers who are looking to grow as they work.
Purdue Global's programs offer a "hyper-tailored path" where students can earn degrees at their own pace, the announcement said. A nonprofit, accredited university, Purdue has 14 locations around the country.
Papa John's is another in a long line of companies that are partnering with universities to upskill current employees, attract new hires and increase the knowledge base of their staff. Online learning has opened access to training for workers at all levels, and businesses are collaborating with schools to offer this valuable benefit to staff. In the face of digital transformation especially, HR professionals are rethinking the nature of collaborations across the board. After all, an organization cannot be agile — as required in a digital economy — without a training program that reflects the current market; in turn, colleges and universities have stepped up to offer their services to employers looking for solutions.
More employers recognize development is not just an attractive benefit to staff and potential hires — it's a must in today's tight talent market. Career development can be instrumental to retention; without upward mobility and the training that supports it, employees tend to move on, a 2017 Glassdoor study showed. Encouraging lifelong learning, providing access to upskilling on demand and fostering a culture that supports growth are the newest directives for the L&D professional.
After a rough 2018 that included the resignation of the company's founder, Papa John's had to rush to repair its image, Fortune noted — and offering 100% paid tuition isn't bad for employer branding. A strong L&D program coveys a focus on people, Dennis R. Baltzley, global solution leader, leadership development for Korn Ferry Portland, previously told HR Dive.