- Subway is partnering with Penn Foster to launch a career readiness pilot program for 331 Subway employees throughout Central Florida, according to a press release.
- The program will help employees develop workplace skills while advancing their education through an online career readiness boot camp and high school program offered through Penn Foster.
- The programs will focus on soft skills like teamwork and adaptability. The self-paced program guides employees through exercises in personal and workplace competencies.
A number of food service employers are offering career training or employee development programs, which may be an attempt to make the positions more appealing while the unemployment rate is at a 50-year low. The offerings may also encourage some employees to be more invested in their positions with the hopes of earning a spot in one of these programs. Over half (51%) of restaurateurs ranked hiring staff as one of their top challenges, according to this year’s Restaurant Success Report, with training staff (35%) and retaining staff (31%) as additional challenges.
For Subway's new pilot program, the spots are available for employees who have been active for 90 days on a first-come, first-serve basis. The franchise owner determines who is accepted.
"The launch of this program plays an integral part in our effort to foster educational development opportunities to our greatest brand ambassadors, Subway Sandwich Artists," says Michael Robling, Subway's Operations Specialist for North America, in the press release. "We hope to provide the people who work hard each and every day to serve guests and create an exceptional Subway experience with an opportunity to achieve their personal goals and career aspirations."
Subway has been active in supporting its employees through other efforts like the Fresh Start Scholarship Program that awards scholarships to employees throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia. Other restaurants investing in employee development include Denny’s, which partnered with Magic Johnson in March for a new leadership training program including simulations, games, mobile learning, training videos, and leadership workshops. McDonald's launched a specific program in March to provide women with tailored resources for career excellence, including a Women in Tech initiative. Last year, it launched the Where You Want To Be campaign, which allowed employees to shadow influencers from industries in which they want to work.
Other brands are focusing on providing tuition assistance as a way to attract and retain employees. Papa John's partnered with Purdue University to pay for employee's online tuition while Starbucks, McDonald's, Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A also offer educational assistance programs. Chick-fil-A reports that its program increased employee retention. Chipotle expanded its education benefits in October to offer 100% tuition costs toward 75 types of business and tech degrees and offers $5,250 per year in educational assistance while KFC covers up to $2,500.