A restaurant chain is spicing up the way it helps workers pursue higher education.
Twenty-six-year-old Chandra Worley is not only one of the first graduates from Chipotle’s tuition assistance program, she’s the first in her family to earn a college degree.
“It was definitely a lot of work but being able to find a good balance–I can manage this, and I can go to school, and I can work and do life at the same time,” Worley said.
In the past year and a half, she earned her bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership online with Colorado State University Global. At the same time, she logged up to 50 hours each week at Chipotle, even advancing to general manager.
Now a service manager, Worley explained, “I voluntarily demoted back to a service manager while I was finishing up the last bit of my schooling.”
Chipotle offers up to $5,250 in tuition reimbursement each year–which allowed Worley to graduate debt-free, unlike many students.
For Worley, with the accelerated program online and an associate’s degree already under her belt, she finished her bachelor’s in three years instead of the traditional four.
“It’s a pride that you now have that not everyone can say that they have. The doors are open, and the sky’s the limit,” Worley said
With no cap on Chipotle’s tuition reimbursement, she’s starting her master’s in math education next year. Long term, she has big goals.
“I want to teach remedial math to the kids who really don’t understand it,” Worley said. “Ultimately I would love to become a professor, get tenure at some university,” Worley said.
Chipotle isn’t the only company helping its people. Starbucks, Verizon, and Walmart are among several others who also offer tuition reimbursement–sometimes up to $8,000.