Governor Announces Educational Partnership with McDonalds, an Online University | Business
Western Governors University (WGU) has partnered with McDonald’s and the company’s independent franchisees to help employees earn their degrees.
The alliance was announced March 1 at Westport Plaza McDonald’s in Maryland Heights, one of 38 McDonald’s in the St. Louis area owned by brothers Nolan and Francis Ruiz.
The two brothers were at the launch event with Governor Mike Parson, WGU President Scott Pulsipher, and Kassie Johner, a McDonald’s employee who is studying to earn her Bachelor of Commerce degree at WGU.
Parson, whose first job was pumping petrol and fixing tyres, said: “Nothing will drive me up the wall more than someone making a reference to someone flipping burgers for a living. “
Citing statewide statistics on college degrees, Parson spoke about the goal of the program.
“When you look at where we’re headed in the workforce in this state, why we’re so aggressive with this is…really the fundamentals of the American Dream. It’s made for everyone. But you (have to) give people the opportunity to enter the workforce,” Parson said. “The truth is, 70% of the people in this state don’t have a college degree – it’s your workforce that’s out there. These are the people who need to get into the job industry, they need a little help getting started.
McDonald’s Corporation’s Archways to Opportunity program offers employees the opportunity to graduate from high school, receive initial tuition assistance, access free education or career counseling services, and to learn English as a second language.
Since its launch in 2015, the program has improved access to education for nearly 2,000 Missourians and awarded approximately $5 million in tuition assistance.
“Our partnership with WGU provides even more opportunities for our restaurant employees to pursue their education and career aspirations,” said Lisa Schumacher, director of education strategies at McDonald’s.
Through this partnership, McDonald’s employees and their families receive a 5% tuition discount and are eligible for WGU-funded scholarships ranging in value from $2,000 to $10,000.
This, combined with the help of Archways to Opportunity, means that students can travel to WGU at little cost – or possibly for free.
“We already know how affordability is a barrier to accessing post-secondary education for so many, and so the strength of partnerships like this is so significant,” said the WGU President. , Scott Pulsipher.
Because WGU offers courses entirely online, it can be a good alternative for students who cannot travel to a traditional college campus every day. The cost of tuition is also relatively low.
“A lot of what (we’re) really designed for is individuals like the ones you’ll find at McDonald’s…individuals who need our ability to reach out to them and teach them where they are,” said Pulsipher.
Kassie Johner was actually taking classes at another college before enrolling at WGU, but those classes didn’t fit into her schedule. She decided to try WGU because of her mother, who also attended WGU and graduated with a degree in business management.
“I saw how easy it was for her to work and go to school with less stress and a lot more happiness,” Johner said.
For more information about the partnership, visit wgu.edu/partners/mcdonalds. Information about McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program is available at archwaystoopportunity.com.