Americans are rethinking college. Higher education institutions lost nearly 500,000 undergraduate students last Fall and another 604,000 in Spring. Businesses are noticing these trends and recognize that offering debt-free education programs through leading universities could help them improve retention rates and address talent shortages by reskilling their frontline workforce. 


What is debt-free education? 

Traditionally companies offered a form of tuition reimbursement where employees pay out of pocket for an eligible education program and are reimbursed after completion by their employer. For companies who have a large frontline workforce, most cannot afford to pay tuition upfront

Forward-thinking HR leaders are revamping education benefits by offering them as part of an employee’s total compensation. Modern education programs have minimal upfront paperwork, approval, and cost burdens for the employee. Companies that offer this type of benefit often work with third-party career mobility platforms to give employees access to digital skill academies, career coaching, and more. 


What are the benefits of offering cohort-based education programs to frontline workers through leading universities? 

At Pathstream, we create programs for employers that upskill employees in specific digital skills and in-demand technologies to prepare teams and companies for the future of work. Our programs are delivered through leading universities. 



Four benefits of strategic higher-education partnerships:

1. Heads of talent can build future talent pipelines. 

Upskilling or reskilling current employees to use in-demand technology is a significant benefit for businesses. Your frontline employees will attain skills they can immediately apply to your company. For example, Portland, a logistics employee at Amazon, improved her team’s productivity after only taking the first course of our Business Analytics Certificate Program.



2. Access to top academic programs from highly respected universities. 

When you offer education opportunities to your frontline employees, you want to ensure certificates and degrees come from accredited and reputable institutions. At Pathstream, we’ve developed relationships with top-tier academic partners to ensure students develop the digital skills required for success at your organization. 

A strategic career mobility partner ensures your employees’ educational investment is well-suited to your industry needs. 


3. Powerful recruiting tool

Organizations that have established strong education benefits programs can alleviate the burden of rising education costs for frontline workers. Businesses can leverage benefits like tuition assistance to recruit talent. For example, Pathstream’s alum, Daniel, a General Manager for Chipotle, competes for talent in an oil town where most people can get high-paying jobs in the refinery business. He has found that the education benefits from his employer are a valuable tool for recruiting workers who wish to further their education. 

Forward-thinking talent leaders associate their programs with prestigious universities like Harvard, which further improves a company’s brand making them more attractive as employers. 


4. Increases employee retention

Education benefits can also be a powerful retention tool. Generally, employees participating in tuition assistance programs will stay longer or qualify for promotions within their company. Eighty-two percent of employees who take advantage of these benefits said the skills they learned helped them be more effective at work. Seventy percent of US employees would stay with their current employer if career development opportunities were available. 

When an employer helps future-proof employees’ careers by teaching them skills that won’t become obsolete, employees see a clear path to career advancement, which improves retention and boosts morale.


A one-stop-shop for career development

Employees are becoming more selective when choosing where to work. Frontline employees especially stress that they are looking for more career growth. Partnering with a career mobility platform to deliver digital skills programs and career coaching to your frontline workforce will enable your company to tackle talent shortages and help your people thrive professionally. Schedule a demo if you’re interested in learning more about the Pathstream solution. 


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