Chipotle adds debt-free degrees to competitive education benefits
Chipotle is one of the latest companies to support employee growth and career pathing through education benefits — this time, with debt-free degrees.
Chipotle is partnering with Guild Education to cover 100% of tuition costs upfront for 75 types of technology and business degrees at nonprofit, accredited universities including The University of Arizona, Bellevue University, Brandman University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Wilmington University. All employees that have worked at Chipotle for 120 days and work at least 15 hours a week are eligible for enrollment.
Chipotle is not new to education benefits. Cultivate Education, Chipotle’s education benefits program, allows eligible employees to be reimbursed for tuition up to $5,250 a year. Over the past two years, the fast-casual industry leader has provided employees with over $2 million in tuition assistance.
“Chipotle recognizes that financial barriers can be one of the biggest obstacles that impede our employees from achieving their fullest potential,” said Marissa Andrada, Chief People Officer at Chipotle. “We are proud to launch this opportunity for debt-free degrees by providing free tuition to help our employees excel in all areas in their lives, both in and out of Chipotle.”
By offering technology and business degrees, Chipotle is aligning education benefits with business strategy. “It makes sense for Chipotle to select those types of programs,” Andrada says. “If you think about those two spaces, it really plays into our growth plan for not only the company but our growth plan for our employees.”
Beyond education, Chipotle offers other benefits that are highly-regarded by its employees. The restaurant’s crew bonus program gives hourly employees the opportunity to earn an extra month’s worth of pay. Healthcare and fitness discounts, as well as other education programs, are all part of Chipotle’s suite of benefits.
The results of Chipotle’s Cultivate Education program have been nothing short of wildly successful. Employees enrolled in the program are more likely to be retained and promoted within Chipotle than non-participating employees. Chipotle has already promoted more than 13,000 of its employees and has high hopes that the number will continue to grow.
Guild’s research shows that 63% of students enrolled in the program are first-generation college students and 86% feel that additional education will help achieve their professional goals. According to Chipotle data, retention rates are 90% higher among Chipotle employees who participate in the program.