- McDonald's Archways to Opportunity program has a few interesting features and has seen some success in its second year, Inside Higher Ed reports. Through a tuition assistance program, combined with English language training, high school diploma courses and career advising, the company is trying to improve both employee skillsets and retention rates.
- McDonald's encourages employees to choose their own colleges to pursue degree programs, but has formed loose partnerships with a few colleges that offer tuition discounts and additional support to students. McDonald's also pays colleges directly, which is something most companies don't do.
- While the company has faced sharp criticism in the past over low wages and lack of benefits for workers, this renewed interest in the well-being and education of employees shows promise. The company is able to help employees learn new skills while moving them up into higher management roles, potentially keeping them on board for longer durations.
McDonald's launched its new lineup of employee benefits during a time of protest, when many minimum wage jobs were (and to some extent, still are) under the public microscope. Companies in the retail and fast food markets are oft-challenged by to offer benefits that make life better for their employees.
Marketing itself as a good 'first time employer' is a smart move for McDonald's in a market that's suffering for talent. While the program is available to 800,000 McDonald's employees, including those who work at franchise locations, it's unclear how many are actively participating in college programs.
However, it is clear that the company encourages employees to pursue high education with tuition support and generous scholarships. Many don't realize that McDonald's has operated Hamburger University since 1961, which is a leadership development program that 80,000 managers have graduated from. The company has a dedication to education and leadership, which solidifies its brand as a solid place for first time employees to build a career and improve their lives.