Shaping the Future Workforce: Why Corporate Education Benefits Matter

  • 2 months ago
As corporate America evolves to meet the changing needs of the modern workforce, employee education benefits have emerged as a critical element in attracting and retaining top talent. Alongside traditional benefits such as health care and retirement plans, education benefits are increasingly recognized as essential for addressing the priorities of both candidates and current employees. One reason for this is simple - college can be expensive. According to a recent study although 75% of Americans recognize the value of obtaining a bachelor's degree, over half (56%) of individuals who have never enrolled or were previously enrolled cite cost as a significant deterrent to pursuing or reenrolling in postsecondary education. The goal of corporate education benefits is to provide employees with various avenues for professional growth and development while alleviating the financial burden associated with higher education. For employers, offering education benefits also has its benefits, as companies that offer education programs to their employees also stand to gain on several fronts: Retention and Talent Advancement: Investing in employee education fosters loyalty, engagement and encourages career advancement, leading to higher education rates. Reduced Acquisition Costs: By nurturing existing talent, businesses can reduce the need for frequent recruitment and onboarding, thereby cutting down on acquisition costs. Attraction of Top Talent: Competitive education benefits can serve as a powerful recruitment tool, attracting high-caliber candidates who prioritize continuous learning and personal development. A Leading Example: Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP). Starbucks was among the first to offer tuition assistance in 2014 with the Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP), a first of its kind partnership with Arizona State University (ASU). This program creates an opportunity for all eligible U.S. partners (employees) to earn their first-time bachelor's degree through ASU's top-ranked online degree program. Ten years later, Starbucks has celebrated its largest class of SCAP graduates, marking a decade of transformative impact through a pioneering tuition assistance initiative. How does it work? Upfront tuition coverage for online degrees with no strings attached: Unlike many programs that cap tuition benefits, SCAP offers full tuition coverage, all upfront. And there is no commitment to stay with the company after graduation. High-quality education: Partners enrolled in SCAP benefit from ASU's top-ranked online degree program with over 150 undergraduate degree programs to choose from ensuring access to the same caliber of education as on-campus students. Pathway to Admission: Starbucks and ASU provide an admissions pathway for partners who do not initially qualify for enrollment. Through Pathway to Admission, eligible partners can take up to 10 college-level courses to earn their admission into the university, with credit conversion costs fully covered. To date, the SCAP program has helped more than 13,000 partners earn their degree. And, according to data from The Burning Glass Institute, approximately 75% of SCAP participants have experienced significant career growth post-graduation. But to Starbucks, SCAP represents just one facet of the diverse landscape of education benefits available to employees. In 2022, the company also rolled out a student loan management tool as part of a financial well-being push. Through, employees have access to tools, resources and individual coaching to manage student loan debt, such as repayment options and loan refinancing. Success stories like Starbucks and others serve as compelling evidence of the tangible benefits of investing in employee education. Beyond immediate career advancement, these initiatives lay the groundwork for sustained growth, both for individuals and the companies that support them. For more information on the Starbucks SCAP program, go to