GRAND RAPIDS, MI - In a groundbreaking move, Meijer's commitment to investing in its team members has resulted in a remarkable surge in enrollment in its education programs. Since the introduction of free tuition benefits last year, the number of enrolled team members pursuing associate or bachelor's degrees has more than doubled, solidifying Meijer's position as a trailblazer in employee education.
Meijer, a leading retail giant, has long recognized the value of its team members in driving the company's success. To further support their growth and career aspirations, the retailer introduced a comprehensive education benefits program that includes free tuition, tuition/certificate reimbursement, and various scholarships. Unlike many other employers, all Meijer team members are eligible for these benefits from their date of hire.
"Our team members are core to our success, and by investing in them with these leading education benefits, we're providing a path to help them achieve their educational goals," said Rick Keyes, President & CEO of Meijer. "We're pleased to see so many team members taking advantage of these benefits not only because it enriches them but also because of the positive ripple effect it has on our communities."
The flagship of Meijer's education programs is the free tuition initiative. All team members can pursue an associate or bachelor's degree through five prestigious online universities, including Colorado State University Global, University of Maryland Global Campus, Walden University, Western Governor's University, and Purdue University Global. The program even extends to an English language learners program to ensure inclusivity.
Meijer goes the extra mile to remove financial barriers for its team members. The program includes direct billing to the company, sparing participants from paying upfront and seeking later reimbursement. Additionally, academic coaches from EdAssist are available to guide team members in choosing the most suitable degrees and fields of study. To bolster learning, participants receive 10 hours of free tutoring, enhancing their chances of academic success.
With more than 40 eligible fields of study, Meijer encourages its team members to explore diverse career paths beyond the retail sector. From marketing to computer science and criminal justice, the opportunities are vast, empowering employees to discover their passions and unlock their true potential.
Thomas Kubasiak, the General Merchandise Inventory Coordinator at a Meijer store in Battle Creek, Michigan, shares his success story. "The tuition reimbursement program made it possible for me to achieve some of the career goals I had made for myself years ago. Personally, I would not have gone back to school without it," Kubasiak said. "I would encourage my fellow team members to consider the educational assistance opportunities (at Meijer), especially if costs have stopped them from pursuing future education. I am very grateful for this program and the opportunities it has provided for me."
For those team members who prefer to attend other accredited institutions not covered by the free tuition program, Meijer has a solution. Last year, the retailer increased tuition reimbursement for all accredited institutions to a generous $5,250 per year for each team member. This increased amount is applicable to all schools covered under the retailer's current policy for tuition and certificate reimbursement.
The commitment to education doesn't stop there. Meijer and the Meijer Foundation offer multiple scholarship opportunities for team members and their families. The recent addition of the Meijer Gold Education Scholarship in partnership with Davenport University offers up to $8,000 a year for Meijer team members and up to $6,500 a year for their spouses and children up to age 29. Moreover, the Meijer Foundation organizes the Fred and Lena Meijer Scholarship, providing multiple $5,000 and $10,000 scholarships annually to Meijer team members and their family members.
As a result of the company's focused efforts on education partnerships and benefits, Meijer's engagement in educational programs surpasses industry benchmarks by an impressive 30 percent. This demonstrates the genuine care and commitment Meijer has towards its team members and the communities it serves.
"We believe our education benefits provide substantial value to our team members not only because they promote success, but they also remove financial and technological roadblocks that many of them previously faced. Community members looking for an employer that will support their higher education goals should consider joining Meijer either full- or part-time," said Keith Morrison, Vice President of Total Rewards for Meijer.
Meijer's dedication to empowering its team members through education sets a shining example for the corporate world. By investing in its employees' educational journeys, Meijer paves the way for a brighter future for individuals, their families, and the communities they serve. As the program continues to thrive, the impact on both the company's success and the personal growth of its team members is set to be truly transformative.