Guild is here to help millions of Americans achieve dream education
For millions of Americans higher education is something that feels out of reach. Either for a lack of support, financial constraints, or just plain old life getting in the way; whatever the reason may be, two-thirds of the adult working population in the United States does not have a four-year college degree. This coming at a time when experts predict that by 2020, 65% of jobs in the United States will require higher education. How can one prepare today for that reality of tomorrow? Enter Guild Education: the revolutionary education solution helping millions of people go back to school.
“Perhaps the nation’s most scalable education program for America’s workforce”
-Guild CEO, Rachel Carlson
Rachel Carlson and Brittany Stich conjured up the idea while doing a graduate research project at Stanford. The duo had such passion for providing education to people that in 2015 they officially founded Guild Education. What started in the classroom has quickly turned into a nationwide education initiative ready to serve a pool of 2.7 million Americans without a college degree. What’s more, Guild recently raised another $21 million in a second round of venture funding that now totals about $30 million. The company is valued at $125 million and is backed by investors such as Bessemer Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Social Capital, Harrison Metal, and Cowboy Ventures.
Not too shabby.
“The average American doesn’t have the ability to pay for college up front, but can instead take advantage of their employer paying for it.” -Guild CEO, Rachel Carlson
So how does it work and what has allowed Guild to grow so quickly? Essentially, Guild provides the support necessary to help employees fully utilize their employers’ education benefits, while also working with employers to offer uniquely applicable education opportunities. For example, through Guild’s platform and marketplace, employers like Chipotle, Taco Bell, and KFC can offer their employees hand-picked degree options from vetted university programs. For employees, Guild centralizes and helps manage the necessary paperwork needed to apply for a degree program and pairs each student with a coach and mentor, eliminating the cumbersome process that often derails program adoption and graduation rates. Guild’s seamless platform and the team’s deep expertise and background in education has enabled it to become the gold standard in offering education as a benefit. Guild even enables employers to track ROI on student attendance and results!
To pay its own bills, Guild tries to convince universities to shift their recruiting dollars away from buying Google and Facebook ads but instead invest in their platform, which brings the students directly to the university through its corporate partnerships. Thus, education providers pay Guild for its service, while employers who fund student tuition costs do not.
Some of the most popular courses and degrees completed via Guild are English as a second language, business writing, administration, human resources, management, and nursing. The company plans to expand into computer science and coding skills in the near future (the kind of credentials that can keep people working after the robots arrive).
“Investing in the personal and professional success of our associates is vital to Walmart’s future success,”
-Walmart CEO, Greg Foran
Walmart announced recently that, through their partnership with Guild Education, all 1.4 million of its U.S. store associates are eligible for a new program that for $1-per-day will give them the opportunity to pursue bachelors and associate degrees from a trio of accredited schools. As long as employees have completed their initial training, been with the company for 90 days and can contribute that buck per day, Walmart will pay for all tuition, books, and fees not covered by financial aid. This coming after working with Guild for the last year to tailor a specific education offering for Walmart employees. Guild and Walmart assessed 300 schools before selecting The University of Florida, Brandman University in Southern California, and Nebraska’s Bellevue University as the appropriate partners for the program. The decision was mainly driven by the fact that the three schools allow students to earn degrees entirely online, allowing them to study at their own pace while continuing to work.
At first, the only degrees that will be available will be in business and supply chain management. But Julie Murphy, Walmart’s executive vice president of people for the United States, said those offerings could be expanded based on interest and demand. Walmart expects as many as 68,000 staffers to sign up for the program over its first five years. Participants will be able to put college credits earned during paid Walmart training toward their degrees. Further, employees who sign up will not be under any obligation to stay with Walmart once their education is complete. How about that for a ‘Rollback’?
“In the fast-casual [food] sector, our analysis of 90-day retention rates found that 98 percent of frontline employees who pursued education benefits stayed with the company, compared to 73 percent of their peers”
-Guild CEO, Rachel Carlson
Concerned about this stat being provided by Guild? Feast on the following from Chipotle Spokeswoman Quinn Kelsey: “Chipotle restaurant employees enrolled in an education program with Guild Education are nearly twice as likely to stay at Chipotle, eighty-nine percent of employees who enrolled stayed with the company for the subsequent nine months.” Amazing. Not only do these employees stay at the company longer, but by experiencing a more fulfilling life, they provide greater customer service as well. It pays to pay it forward!
“Working with America’s largest employers is a large step in delivering on our mission, which is to serve the 64 million adults in the U.S. who are working today but don’t yet have the degree or credential to prepare them for the economy of tomorrow”
-Guild CEO, Rachel Carlson
This Untold Business story demonstrates the positive effect of education on individual people when services are created to provide one with the tools to access it. By offering a service that empowers both employers to offer tailored educational benefits and employees an avenue to reach their educational dreams, Guild is creating a way for employers to invest in their business by investing in the people who bring their business to life. The saying goes, “You give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.” Guild has set out to create ‘fishers’ who can simultaneously further their own careers while also providing more value to their employers.
The Guild founders have taken their good fortune related to education and gone on a mission to enable millions of less fortunate Americans to have a better life, one that they have always dreamt of. People want to rally behind good ideas that create great outcomes for all people. Guild Education is proving to be a win-win-win for employers, employees, and the economy as a whole. Employers are able to better retain their employees, employees can obtain the education they need to excel in the world of tomorrow, and our economy can continue to thrive as the demand for educated labor rises. Does your employer offer benefits in association with Guild? If so, it could be time for you to go back to school!
July 3rd, 2018| By TJ Malman- Untold Business Writer