Now That the Pandemic Hit, Will Employers Keep Giving Tuition Benefits?

Aug 18, 2020

Higher education is increasingly happening beyond traditional colleges—through bootcamps, apps, and even at people’s jobs.

Large employers like Walmart and Chipotle are spending more time, money and effort investing in training programs to prepare workers for what they see as the jobs of the future. This trend has been exploding in the past few years, and in many cases the option involves online programs selected by the employers. The biggest investments in U.S. edtech companies in 2019 went to businesses that provide workforce training, according to EdSurge reporting.

Of course, that was back when the economy was humming and unemployment hit record lows—all before the COVID-19 pandemic.

On this week’s podcast, we hear from Rachel Carlson, CEO and co-founder of Guild Education. It’s a company that helps other companies connect workers with education programs—in fact its clients include Walmart, Chipotle and many other large retailers. Guild works with all kinds of education providers to offer master’s and bachelor’s degrees as well as skills certificates.

Carlson discusses the role employer-backed education might play in pandemic recovery for workers who have been affected the most. And she also shared thoughts about whether higher ed is dividing into two tracks—one focused on skills and the other focused on degrees—and on the different reasons why, in her words, students “hire” colleges to offer them education services.

Listen to this week’s episode on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music, or wherever you listen to podcasts, or use the player on this page.


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