Target launches debt-free education assistance program for employees


FILE- This May 3, 2017, file photo shows the Target logo on a store in Upper Saint Clair, Pa. Target reported strong fourth-quarter profits, though its sales were weighed down by weak toy and electronics sales during the crucial holiday shopping season. Target joins a string of other retailers, including Walmart, with disappointing sales during the shortest holiday shopping period since 2013. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

(ABC4) – Target is the latest national chain preparing to help its employees continue their education.

The Minnesota-based company announced the launch of a debt-free education assistance program which will benefit more than 340,000 of the chain’s employees.

According to Target, all part-time and full-time employees in the U.S. will be eligible for debt-free undergraduate degrees, certificates, certifications, free textbooks, and more with no out-of-pocket costs starting their first day of work with Target.

The company says its debt-free offerings include 250 business-aligned programs from over 40 schools, colleges, and universities. Additionally, Target reports it will pay up to $10,000 annually for master’s programs.

According to the announcement, employees can pursue high school completion, college prep, English language learning and select certificates, certifications, bootcamps, associate and undergraduate degrees.

Target employees pursuing education outside of select programs can receive direct payments to their academic institution of up to $5,250 for non-master’s degrees and up to $10,000 for master’s degrees each year.

“Target will also ensure that smaller out-of-pocket expenses and fees, such as textbooks and course fees, that may hinder team member participation, will also be covered at no cost to them,” a release reads.

This new program is part of Target’s ‘Target Forward’ sustainability strategy, adding they are working to eliminate student debt.

“Target employs team members at every life stage and helps our team learn, develop and build their skills, whether they’re with us for a year or a career. A significant number of our hourly team members build their careers at Target, and we know many would like to pursue additional education opportunities. We don’t want the cost to be a barrier for anyone, and that’s where Target can step in to make education accessible for everyone,” says Melissa Kremer, chief human resources officer.

For more on the Target Forward program, click here.

Walmart recently announced it will pay for 100% of college tuition and books for employees.

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