Chipotle Now Offering Employees Free Degrees in Agriculture, Culinary, Hospitality – SB News


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As part of Chipotle’s mission to ‘cultivate a better world,’ it has expanded its debt-free degree program to include nearly 100 degree options in these fields at 10 US universities.

Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced it will offer debt-free degrees in
Agriculture, Culinary Arts and Hospitality to all eligible
employees, in partnership with Guild
. After four months of employment,
employees are eligible to pursue degrees from leading nonprofit, accredited
universities — including the University of Arizona, Bellevue University,
Brandman University, Paul Quinn College, Southern New Hampshire
, Wilmington University, the University of Denver; and soon
Johnson & Wales University and Oregon State University (OSU). The
debt-free education program aligns with the company’s mission to “cultivate a
better world
” by equipping employees who might
lack the resources to pursue an education in these fields with the tools and
knowledge they will need to create a better global food system.

Expanding opportunities

Starting April 13, eligible Chipotle employees will be able to pursue a Bachelor
of Science in Agricultural Sciences or Rangeland Sciences online from
OSU — one of the top-ranked US colleges for agriculture.

According to the latest Census of Agriculture from the USDA, there are
more than six times as many

age 65 and older as farmers age 34 and younger, challenging the future of small
and mid-sized farms throughout the country. The health, diversity and
sustainability of our food system depends on cultivating the next generation of
agriculture leaders and farmers, and now Chipotle is giving employees an
opportunity to further contribute to its revitalization efforts.  

Chipotle has
also committed $5
million over five years to help remove barriers and enable the next generation
of farmers and ranchers to succeed. Last year, the brand spent more than $300
million in food premiums to purchase ingredients that are responsibly sourced,
humanely raised and often locally

Chipotle’s commitment to education

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In 2019, through its partnership with Guild, Chipotle began offering 100 percent
tuition reimbursement up front for 75 different business and technology degrees.
Later this year, Chipotle will also offer an expanded selection of Supply Chain
programs from OSU and the University of Denver — in addition to the Supply Chain
degrees from Bellevue, Brandman and Southern New Hampshire Universities that it
currently offers.  

“Diversifying our debt-free degree program with new majors and partner
universities makes our educational benefits even more inclusive,” said Marissa
, Chief Diversity, Inclusion and People Officer at Chipotle. “Through
our partnership with Guild, we are committed to accelerating our employees’
professional growth and helping them achieve personal success by offering
opportunities to pursue career paths in their particular area of interest.”

The debt-free degree program is a key component of Chipotle’s Cultivate
Education program — which includes an Existing Tuition Reimbursement
, allowing
eligible employees to be reimbursed for tuition up to $5,250 per year in
qualifying programs.

With this initiative, Chipotle joins a growing list of companies that are
working to create a more inclusive workforce in the US, by connecting
underserved groups with the resources they need to pursue higher education and
careers in fields that can help tip the balance toward a healthier future:

  • In 2014, Starbucks launched the Starbucks College Achievement
    which offered eligible part-time and full-time employees the opportunity to
    choose from over 40 Bachelor’s degree programs, through a collaboration with
    Arizona State University‘s online degree program, with full tuition

  • In 2018, Clif Bar offered four college seniors a Business with Purpose
    intended to encourage and enable them to pursue meaningful post-graduate
    experiences and stay true to their own aspirations of making a positive
    their career, instead of choosing a path based on the pressure of paying
    down their student debt.

  • In 2020, Microsoft and LinkedIn partnered on a global skills
    initiative that the companies say provided 30.7 million people with free
    digital skills training during the pandemic. Their new Career Connector
    launched earlier this month, builds on their efforts to help the people
    hardest hit by the pandemic — namely, women and minorities — by extending
    free LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn courses and low-cost
    certifications that align to 10 of the most in-demand tech and digital jobs,
    through 2021.

  • In January, Apple launched a set of major new projects as part of its
    $100 million Racial Equity and Justice
    which aims to expand opportunities for communities of color across the
    country and to help build the next generation of diverse leaders. Among
    these efforts are the Propel Center — a first-of-its-kind global
    innovation and learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and
    Universities; an Apple Developer Academy to support coding and tech
    education for students in Detroit; and venture capital funding for
    entrepreneurs of color.

Published Apr 12, 2021 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 1pm BST / 2pm CEST

Sustainable Brands Staff

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