Subway’s new program helps workers get degrees

Subway is making it easier for employees to get high school and college degrees.

The sandwich franchise is launching a new education benefit for employees in 331 restaurants in central Florida. The program, which began piloting last month, gives workers access to a career readiness and high school diploma program.

“I think something like this really does bring value and improves the lives of [our] employees,” says Michael Robling, an operations specialist at Subway for North America.

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Subway’s program includes a career readiness bootcamp and high school degree program offered through Penn Foster. Robling says the company has partnerships with several universities to help employees get college degrees at a discount. The company also offers scholarships for employees through the Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation, a private foundation created by one of Subway's co-founders.

“This is definitely just a start,” Robling says.

This move comes after Mexican-inspired restaurant chain Chipotle began offering free college degrees to its 80,000 employees from 75 business and technology degree programs. Employees at Chipotle can earn their associates or bachelor degrees online from the University of Arizona, Bellevue University, Brandman University, Southern New Hampshire University and Wilmington University.

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More than half of employers offer a tuition assistance benefit to employees, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management. Indeed, companies including Disney, Walmart and Discover, Chick-fil-A, Hulu, Lowe’s, McDonald’s and Taco Bell all also announced education benefits last year.

Robling says he thinks more employers will begin to invest in benefits that help workers achieve higher education goals. Employees at Subway are appreciative of the opportunity and it may help the company retain workers long-term, he adds.

“If the franchise owner is looking out for me, I’m going to be happier at work,” he says. “That’s one of the big positives of this program.”

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