Target announced on Facebook Wednesday that the retailer will offer employees a debt-free path to a college degree.
“Starting this fall, we’re offering debt-free degrees to more than 340,000 U.S.-based full and part-time team members at stores, distribution centers and headquarters locations,” the company wrote in a Facebook post. (RELATED: Target CEO Made Nearly $20 Million, 805 Times More Than Median Employee In 2020 Amid Pandemic)
Target explained the company’s plan in an article posted on their website, stating that employees not only have free access to undergraduate and associate degrees but also certificates, boot camp programs, textbooks and course fees.
“It’s all covered, with no out-of-pocket costs required,” the company said in the article.
To provide these perks, Target is partnering with Guild Education, a private company described as an “education and upskilling platform,” according to the website. Their partnership will provide easy access to more than 250 business-aligned programs from over 40 different higher education sources. The company also plans to invest $200 million in the program over the next four years, as part of their Target Forward sustainability strategy. (RELATED: Target Reverses Decision To Remove Book Critical Of Transgenderism After Receiving Complaint That It’s ‘Transphobic’)
“It’s one more way Target is continuing to support our team with industry-leading pay and benefits and advancing our goal to create an equitable and inclusive workforce,” the company said.
Target also plans on funding advanced degrees within the network, offering up to $10,000 annually for master’s programs.
Employees will have a wide range of options, including courses for high school completion and college prep courses. Some schools already partnered in the program include the University of Arizona, Oregon State University and Morehouse College, while some of the debt-free programs include business management, design and data analytics.
Chief Human Resources Officer at Target, Melissa Kremer, stated on the website that because Target employs team members at “every stage of life,” they know that many of their employees would like to pursue higher education.
“We don’t want the cost to be a barrier to anyone, and that’s where Target can step in and make education accessible to everyone,” Kremer said.
Target is just the latest retailer to encourage workers with benefits, joining other retailers and restaurant chains like Walmart and Chipotle, according to CNBC. In July 2021, CNBC reported that Walmart would also cover the full cost of college tuition and books for its employees.