This is part of Taco Bell’s “Start With Us, Stay With Us,” approach.
Back in the fall of 2016, the chain unveiled a growth plan that called for the addition of 100,000 new jobs by 2022. Included: roughly 200 store openings annually, and 8,000 stateside, 9,000 globally, by that date. Taco Bell plans to open more than 250 U.S. restaurants in 2018 alone.
Taco Bell said the Guild Education program is “critical” to its efforts to further this positioning as a quick-service leader in the labor field.
All Taco Bell corporate and franchise employees will have access to Guild’s academic and financial aid coaches and discounts to Guild’s education partners—a network of 80 online non-profit universities and learning providers, offering Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. These programs include high school completion and English-as-a-second language, and there is also a wide selection of certificates available.
Taco Bell corporate employees, along with those at participating franchises, will have access to up to $5,250 per calendar year in tuition assistance, including books and supplies, paid up front to avoid out-of-pocket costs. All employees can also get college credit for on-the-job restaurant training, which could save an employee an additional $5,000, Taco Bell said, bringing their potential total savings to more than $10,000.
“Taco Bell’s emphasis on employee development made them an ideal partner for us,” said Guild Education CEO Rachel Carlson, in a statement. “Taco Bell’s ‘Start With Us, Stay With Us’ philosophy aligns perfectly with Guild’s value of giving employees education pathways to advance their careers—both at Taco Bell and beyond in future roles. We’re delighted to help each Taco Bell employee find the right university or program to pursue their education, and our team at Guild will be with them every step of the way as they pursue their academic and career goals.”
The “Start With US, Stay With Us,” platform arrived in November. Education was center to this strategy. The Graduate for Mas Program, which to that point had enrolled nearly 600,000 people, helped participants who promised to graduate gain access to resources, mentorship support, prizes, and rewards, such as scholarship.
Then there was also the GED Certification Program in tandem with GED Testing Services; an Excelsior Program through Excelsior College, an accredited non-profit institution that offers Taco Bell staff the chance to earn a flexible online degree at discount prices; and the Live Mas Scholarship aimed at students who don’t fit into the typical athletic or academic mold.
Taco Bell’s same-store sales were up 4 percent for fiscal 2017, year-over-year. Taco Bell opened 134 restaurants in the fourth quarter, 314 for the fiscal year, including 77 international units, to bring its total to 6,849.