Aramark has announced that it will provide the opportunity for eligible hourly associates in the U.S. to receive full tuition coverage for college degrees through InStride, a learning services enterprise that connects prominent employers to leading universities.
Called the Aramark Frontline Education Program (FEP), the initiative is part of a $90 million investment the company made in its employees earlier this year that also includes targeted wage and benefit increases, as well as additional training and development.
Through FEP, eligible Aramark associates will be able to earn their degrees from universities such as Arizona State, which has one of the top-ranked online degree programs in the country. The application process will begin this October, with enrollment for the spring 2020 semester.
“Our mission to Enrich and Nourish Lives means we have a responsibility to help our employees achieve their full potential and lead fulfilling lives,” said Aramark Chairman/President/CEO Eric Foss in a statement accompanying the announcement. “Education is key to making that happen and we are proud to provide this learning pathway to our dedicated frontline team members who want to advance their education and grow their careers.”
Aramark, whose North American Food & Support Services unit placed No. 2 on FM’s 2019 Top 50 Contract Management Companies listing with $10.14 billion in fiscal 2018 revenues, employs 130,000 frontline employees in the U.S. who fill roles ranging from chefs, cashiers and stadium hawkers to servers, route drivers and custodians in schools, universities, hospitals, sports venues and in businesses of all kinds.
InStride is a public-benefit corporation that works with employers to provide opportunities to degrees and credentials for their employees through high-quality universities and colleges. It was founded as a collaboration between Arizona State University and The Rise Fund, a global impact investing fund managed by global alternative investment firm TPG, which currently has more than $108 billion under management.
“Aramark and its leadership team recognize the tremendous impact of providing their employees an opportunity to advance their education,” said InStride CEO Vivek Sharma in a prepared statement. “We are thrilled to partner with Aramark and excited to offer their employees the ability to pursue their dreams of a life-changing, debt-free degree from the highest-quality universities.”