Inside McDonald’s talent strategy

by Brett Henebery06 Jul 2017

McDonald’s employees now have the opportunity to finish their studies and earn a diploma through a ground-breaking employee education program.

The 18-month “Archways to Opportunity” employee education program is being rolled out in collaboration with educational content company, Cengage and has seen more than 800 employees enrolled in under two years.

Ron Stefanski, executive director for strategic alliances at Cengage, told EBN that the online program provides a meaningful incentive to young people who desire to take on further training.

“Organisations that require a lot of people – retail, food services – they have to bring a lot of people into the workforce,” he said.

“Among corporations, there’s definitely an initiative underway. They see [an education benefit] as a way to provide an opportunity to people with low skills but it’s also an opportunity to change the conversations about their talent strategy.”

Stefanski pointed out that the skills-based, career-focused online curriculum is designed for adult learners who might have done a year or two at a traditional high school but didn’t finish for a variety of reasons.

“Employees might have not found their classwork relevant, didn’t have support from their family or school, or have repeatedly been told they’re a failure, a label they embrace over time,” he said.
“There’s a real stigma built around being a high school dropout.”

About 40% of McDonald’s employees do not have, or are working toward, their high school diploma, and 20% to 25% of those employees are store managers.

The 18-credit program, which costs $1,295 per student, offers four elective courses and then turns those classes into entry-level workforce tracks, such as restaurant and safety, retail and customer service, and child development.

From there, employees are ready to take academic classes with a newfound confidence from excelling in their elective courses, Stefanski says.

The nationally accredited program is also competency-based, with participants needing to pass a course with a 70% score or better to advance, he says.

Employees that fail a unit three consecutive times are then directed to an academic coach, who follows them from the start of the program until they graduate.

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