Guild Education Partnership With Hilton To Offer Cost-Free Continuing Education Benefit

This is a first for the hospitality industry: Hilton is offering its team members a new educational benefit through a partnership with Guild Education. The collaboration with Hilton will provide the hospitality company’s team members with a leading continuing education platform to assist them in making their educational dreams come true. The goal is to encourage employees to continue to learn, grow, and thrive.

Starting in spring 2022, associates at Hilton’s United States–owned and managed properties and corporate locations will have the opportunity to obtain a wide variety of new educational credentials to help them attain their personal and professional goals. The best part? It’s a debt-free education. 

“This partnership with Guild Education — a first of its kind in our industry — is yet another way we will be able to better meet our team members where they are right now on their educational journeys and help them achieve their career aspirations,” explains Laura Fuentes, Hilton executive vice president and chief human resources officer. “At Hilton, we’ve been on a lifelong journey to build an inclusive culture of continuous learning for all. We want work at Hilton to be one of the best parts of our team members’ lives, and that means creating opportunities for continuous professional growth and development.”

Guild Education and Hilton Are Industry Leaders

Natalie McCullough, Guild Education’s president and chief commercial officer, says, “Hilton is enhancing its commitment to creating a top work environment and a workplace of growth with its new education program. We are proud to partner with Hilton to provide their team members with career mobility opportunities that will give them the skills needed for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow.”  

Hilton specifically partnered with Guild Education because the Denver-based technology company is a leader in the field and aligns with Hilton’s focus on growth through education to attract and retain the very best team members. This new continuing education and upskilling platform provides an array of debt-free educational opportunities for all team members. 

Making Education Accessible

Founded in 2015, Guild Education has partnerships with top universities as well as leading learning providers for working adults. Through those connections, it’s able to offer more than 2,200 programs and has the knowledge to guide all students through their educational journeys.  

“At Hilton, more than 40% of the United States team members have been part of the Hilton family for 10 years or longer, [which is why] we are thrilled to be partnering with Guild Education to expand our efforts to support our team members in building lifelong, fulfilling careers here at Hilton,” states Gretchen Stroud, Hilton’s senior vice president of talent and inclusion. In addition to the Guild partnership opportunities, Hilton offers team members access to more than 25,000 online professional development learning courses. 

Guild Education Helps Companies Offer Debt-Free Degrees 

Access to affordable education appeals to job seekers. In addition to Hilton, Guild Education works with successful companies such as Disney, Walmart, Chipotle, and Lowes to offer employees the ability to earn a debt-free degree. “If you talk to CEOs at nearly any large company, they’re focused on issues that hinge on getting the return to work right: safety protocols, culture, support for women and parents, and above all, recruitment and retention,” Rachel Carlson, Guild Education’s co-founder and CEO, explained to CNBC

Guild’s platform provides users the opportunity to enroll in a range of programs from high school trades certification to associate’s, bachelor’s, and even master’s degrees. It’s ideal for working professionals since courses are flexible and don’t have any in-person exam requirements. Currently, between 3 and 4 million employees at major companies have access to the platform. Employers embrace the edtech opportunity since it offers the chance to “upskill” employees into new positions and train them to take on new responsibilities. 

“Employers are facing a rapidly changing workforce, with major shortages today in fields like engineering, cybersecurity, and data analytics that are only accelerating,” says Carlson. “As both employees and employers look to be competitive for the future of work, upskilling has quickly become the logical answer.” 

Education Is a Key Ingredient for Success and Employee Retention

That’s a business model that’s working for Chipotle. In 2021, people were quitting jobs at an all-time industry high rate. Despite that, the United States–based chain of fast-food restaurants reported a 46% increase in job applications because it’s an employer that understands education is important to employees. 

That’s why Chipotle partnered with Guild Education to launch the national Back to School campaign as part of the eatery’s educational benefit, Cultivate Education. The program targeted 200 Chipotle locations with the highest turnover rates and trained managers on how to highlight the debt-free degree program to prospective employees. The plan covers 100% of tuition costs up front for 75 different technology and business degrees. And job seekers took notice. 

Work and School Can Coexist With Guild Education 

“To be able to say, ‘we offer education benefits through Guild so you can have the job and go back to school’ — Why wouldn’t I shout that from the rooftops?” Joe Albano, the senior manager of national recruiting at Chipotle, has said. The campaign resulted in the 200 Chipotle locations receiving 7,500 total applications, which compared to previous campaigns was a 46% increase in interested workers. Each eatery hired one or two employees, and there was a 60% increase in interest in the Guild Education benefits.

Guild Education understands that leveraging education to create upward mobility for all employees is an excellent way to improve diverse representation at management and leadership levels, which has the added benefit of driving attraction and retention efforts. “When you create a culture of opportunity where all employees can thrive, you modernize your talent strategy and elevate your employee value proposition, creating a distinct market advantage,” explains a Guild spokesperson. 

Article Editor

Pamela is a television journalist, humor writer and novelist. Her first novel, Allegedly, was released in 2015 by St. Martin’s Press. The book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She and her husband, Daniel, have a 3-year-old son, Carter.

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