Rank and file Walt Disney workers can attend college if they want — and send the bill to their boss.
On Tuesday, the entertainment giant announced a new program to fund tuition for 80,000 hourly workers. Known as Disney Aspire, the program pays tuition up front and will reimburse workers for educational expenses such as application fees and required books and materials.
The range of educational options is basically unlimited, including high school equivalency courses, vocational training, English-language learning, and bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Employees do not have to choose a course of study related to their current job title or role with Disney.
The entertainment giant says it is the most comprehensive program of its kind.
“We are constantly looking at ways to help people realize their ambitions and fulfill their dreams,” said Jayne Parker, senior executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Disney, in a blog post. “This program is the latest in that effort.”
The Disney program will be administered by Guild Education, the Denver-based company that administers educational benefit programs for workers at companies including Walmart and Lyft.
In July, after months of union pressure, Disney gave some theme park workers a pay raise, bumping its minimum wage to $15.