Hourly workers are often overlooked when companies plan for their employees' growth - either due to negative stereotyping or because of the more transient nature of their roles. At Disney, hourly workers are in the spotlight with a new program that aims to provide the gift of education to as many as 80,000 employees.
The Walt Disney Co. announced that they will pay full tuition for their hourly workers so that they can have a proper education, learn new skills, and evolve as individuals alongside Disney, but also if they wish to, beyond this giant entertainment company.
"I have always believed that education is the key to opportunity. It opens doors and creates new possibilities," said Bob Iger, Disney Chairman and CEO.
And indeed it does - education can pave the way for more opportunities for hourly workers. This new program, called Disney Aspire, will give employees the means to achieve their personal goals - something that the company is known to value. The educational program is designed solely for hourly workers and will cater to cast members and employees of The Walt Disney Company, offering them a chance to get a university degree, get specialized training, or even finish their high school diploma.
"We can't wait to see what paths our cast members take with Disney Aspire," the company said.
Disney announced an initial $50 million investment in this new and ongoing project. This fund will be used to cover 100 percent of the tuition up front, along with all the needed materials and books.
Jayne Parker, senior executive vice president & chief HR officer for The Walt Disney Company, says that he wants to support employees in their professional and personal career. The important thing is to give people an opportunity to express their needs, realize their ambitions, and follow their dreams.
He also says that the program is designed to be fully flexible – employees have all the freedom for their orientation, regardless of whether the programs they choose are somehow tied to their current role in Disney.
Disney has partnered with Guild Education, an organization whose main goal is to change the future of adult education and work. The Guild is providing teachers to guide employees through the program and help them evolve from it. The first lessons will be online classes.
With this development tactic, Disney is looking to expand their workers' potential to the point where they can become full-time employees through training and education.
It seems that Disney is following other big corporations that have included courses for hourly workers' progression. Walmart has begun an educational project that provides a degree in three different universities through the online program.
This opportunity presented by Disney and other big companies is a huge step for hourly workers. It gives people an opportunity to get an education that they didn't have before, a chance to evolve, and not stand on the margins of the company hierarchy. A program that allows people to get a university degree while still keeping their job is a crucial step for hourly workers.
It's a smart business move. Give people the chance to pursue their personal development, and they are more likely to work harder for the company as a means to repay that investment in their future.
From Disney's example, we can see how big corporations and companies can help their workers. Smaller businesses can also look at this project and try to emulate what it hopes to achieve - creating a great working environment and culture where hourly employees can feel supported and nurtured, so that they are better motivated to succeed.
In the future, we hope that more companies follow the example set by Disney and Walmart, and prioritize the development of their hourly employees as well. Hourly workers provide an invaluable service to any business workforce and their unique hiring and tenure concerns should be treated accordingly. Workstream is here to help address your company's every-changing needs. Chat with us to learn more.
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