NEW YORK (AP) — Target Corp. is joining a growing list of retailers and restaurant chains offering educational assistance at select online institutions for its front-line employees in a fiercely competitive job market.
The Minneapolis-based discounter said this week it plans to spend $200 million over the next four years to offer its workers free undergraduate and associate degree programs as well as certificates in business-oriented majors at select institutions such as the University of Arizona, Oregon State University and the University of Denver.
Textbooks will also be free.
“A significant number of our hourly team members build their careers at Target, and we know many would like to pursue additional education opportunities. We don’t want the cost to be a barrier for anyone, and that’s where Target can step in to make education accessible for everyone,” says Melissa Kremer, chief human resources officer, Target.
Like a slew of other big corporate names like Walmart, Taco Bell and the Walt Disney Co., Target is teaming up with Guild Education, a Denver startup that negotiates deals between companies and colleges for the program.
Target says it’s offering one of the most comprehensive programs.
Target’s program will be available this fall for more than 340,000 U.S.-based part-time and full-time students.
Workers, including those on the first day on the job, can attend classes at more than 40 schools, colleges and universities.
They can choose from 250 business programs like computer science, operations and business management.