Posted October 24, 2019 by

Chipotle now covering 100% of tuition costs, even for part-time employees

It isn’t hard to admit: I’ve been a fan of Chipotle’s food since it opened a restaurant near my home about a decade ago.

If you’ve never been, think Subway but for burritos, tacos, and tortilla-less meals served in a bowl. Think concrete floors and lots of stainless steel. Think freshly cooked, savory meats. Think fresh, yummy guacamole. But I digress into a hunger causing diatribe.

Working in a restaurant — any restaurant — is not for the faint of heart. The work is usually fast-paced, customers can be jerks, and the hours often very early or very late. But it is good, honest, hard work. Every minute of every day your work is appreciated by customers who want a little treat, either in the sense of rewarding themselves or rewarding their taste buds. Or both.

Keeping workers happy and retaining them is an incredible challenge for almost all restaurants, especially those whose pay is at the lower end of the scale, which includes almost all fast-food restaurants. Let’s face it, you’re not going to get rich working in a fast-food restaurant, but you’ll earn your pay, you won’t get bored, and you’ll almost certainly make some great friends amongst your co-workers.

But now there’s another benefit to working at a fast-food restaurant. To be clear, not just any fast-food restaurant. Just Chipotle. At least for now. Chipotle, consistent with its mission to Cultivate a Better World, just announced an incredible tuition reimbursement program. Together with Guild Education, Chipotle will cover 100 percent of college tuition costs for all eligible employees, including hourly (crew) members. When I read that, I skeptically thought, “Yeah, but who will be eligible?” I’m often wrong, and this was one of the many times when I was very happy to be wrong.

The news here isn’t that Chipotle has a tuition reimbursement program. Yawn. Lots of employers, including College Recruiter, do. And the news isn’t even that the program covers 100 percent of the tuition costs. That’s a higher bar than most but, at best, evolutionary and not revolutionary. The news here is that to be eligible you need only have worked at Chipotle for four months (120-days, to be exact) AND work at least 15 hours a week. That’s right. Those working only 15-hours a week will get 100 percent of their college education paid for by Chipotle. That’s revolutionary. Kind of like their one-pound, barbacoa, burritos. But I digress again.

There are some limitations, but they’re VERY reasonable. Only certain degrees qualify, but there are 75 of them and range from high school diplomas to bachelor’s degrees in business or technology. The courses are online, but include VERY well respected schools like Denver University. Not satisfied with their schools? No problem. Chipotle will continue to offer its tuition reimbursement program, which allows eligible employees to be reimbursed for tuition up to $5,250 a year at the school of their choice. That’s not going to come close to covering the full cost of a typical, elite, four-year university, but it could easily cover a third or even a half at many state colleges and perhaps all of the costs of a community college. Or, slap that baby together with a nice scholarship or two and now you’re back into the free zone. Where you can enjoy a pork carnitas taco. With green chili. Mmmm.

College Recruiter, we believe that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. That guiding principle leads us to push some employers to treat their employees better, sometimes by paying them better, sometimes by creating better working conditions, and sometimes by helping those employees achieve their life goals. With this new program, Chipotle is setting a new bar for other employers and, I hope, many others will follow their lead. Kudos, Chipotle.

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Posted in Advice for Candidates, Advice for Employers, Advice for Job Seekers, Benefits, Choosing a School, Economic Indicators, Employers, High School, Job Seeker Articles, Kudos, On-line Education, Paying for School, Recruiter Articles, Recruitment marketing, Recruitment Strategies, Retention Strategies, Salaries and Compensation, Saving for College, Scholarships | Tagged