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Companies With Education Benefits: Guild Education

At Guild, we are on a mission to unlock opportunity for America’s workforce through education.

– Rachel Carlson, CEO and Co-Founder of Guild Education

According to a report by the Graduate Management Admission Council, 61 percent of US companies offer financial assistance for employee education and talent development. Furthermore, two-thirds of those companies have funneled more resources into their talent development and education initiatives when compared with that same expenditure five years ago.

A recent article in Forbes outlined the immense return on investment when companies invest in their employees’ occupational future. Educational institutions also are eager to serve an ever-evolving student body. With the skills gained, employees can potentially see an increase in wages while companies see a decline in turnover. The upward trend in tuition reimbursement and employer-led enrollment encouragement is set to make serious waves in the realm of education.

Guild Education is a company with outstanding, standard-setting education benefits. By partnering with major Fortune 1000 companies like The Walt Disney Company, Lowes, Discover Financial, and Chipotle, Guild Education offers education paths to employees of those entities. Guild’s motto is “Learning as a Benefit,” and their operations reflect this mission. A fast-growing company, Guild helps employers provide opportunities in higher education to members of their frontline workforce. The company’s mission is to help the 88 million Americans in need of upskilling gain the knowledge they need.

Read on to learn more about Guild Education’s education benefits and how they’re breaking new ground in the world of education.

Featured Interviewee: Rachel Carlson, Guild Education CEO & Co-Founder

Rachel Carlson

Rachel Carlson is the co-founder and CEO of Guild Education. Prior to creating Guild, Carlson was the CEO of Student Blueprint and worked for American Honors as well as the Parthenon Group. She also worked on a number of campaigns, including the 2008 Obama campaign.

Carlson holds an MBA, an MA in education, and a BA in political science—all from Stanford University. She lives in Denver with her husband, David, and their twin girls, Lily Grace and Magnolia Bea.

Guild Education Partnerships and Initiatives

In 2018, Guild Education was named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Denver Business Journal and recognized as an “Employee Initiative of the Year” by HR Dive. In 2019, Fast Company named it one of the “Most Innovative Companies.” Through Guild partnerships, an impressive three million working adults are eligible for education assistance with their companies. Guild Education has also raised an eye-popping $228 million from social impact investments—a clear sign that people see the value of continuing education for employees.

CEO Rachel Carlson spearheads the buoyant company’s workforce investment initiatives. When she co-founded Guild Education with Brittany Sitch, the goal was to be a venture-funded company that served the working adults of the United States by doing good business in good conscience. It works in conjunection with a number of institutions offering online degrees and credentialing in cybersecurity, tech administration, and other new collar work.

Since its inception, the goal of Guild Education has been to build new pathways to meaningful reskilling for a demographic that is often unmentioned. To this end, the company has always sought to build lasting partnerships with major corporate players. These partnerships, in turn, allow them to connect prospective students with a wide variety of programs and institutions to fit their unique needs.

“Guild has brought together a diverse network of non-profit, accredited universities with the nation’s best outcomes for working adults,” says Carlson. “Our network includes more than 1,600 programs helping students attend schools around the U.S. like the University of Arizona, Southern New Hampshire University, Brandman University, Bellevue University, University of Central Florida, and Purdue Global to earn an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree.”

Guild Education pairs client companies with institutions that can help them fulfill their skilling needs. Based on the school’s strengths, Guild connects schools with programs targeted at that company’s personnel requirements.

Most of these institutions have made history for their contributions to the world of online education, but what Guild Education does with these schools’ combined expertise is make them accessible via a single portal. In fact, over 10,000 employees a month contact Guild about pursuing an education. Think of Guild as a one-stop-shop for employers in need of paths into the new collar workforce. Employers are generally receptive when it comes to being able to boast a skills-strong frontline workforce—Guild Education helps them get there.

Guild Education Benefits and Services: How Does it Work

“At Guild, we are on a mission to unlock opportunity for America’s workforce through education,” Carlson says. “Guild partners with leading employers like Walmart, Disney, Lowe’s, Taco Bell, Chipotle, and Discover Financial to help them offer education as a benefit to their employees. We do this by offering our employer partners a full technology platform and a diverse network of the nation’s top accredited universities tailored toward the success of working adults.”

But just what exactly is involved in offering this full technology platform? While there are a number of online education models currently available, Guild Education acts as the negotiator between adult students and the schools they want to attend. They build analytics platforms for whatever requirements are at hand, and with as many as 1,600 degrees available through partner schools, students can be sure they are receiving a high quality education.

One of the company’s main thrusts is the evaluation of other companies’ tuition reimbursement programs. As mentioned above, 61 percent of companies offer similar basic education benefits to their employees. Many tuition coverage or reimbursement programs in this category fall short. This tends to be a matter of corporations knowing their personnel needs but not being sure how to achieve them. Guild Education stimulates employee interest in these types of programs by making the learning process that much more intuitive. Partner companies often have infrastructures in place to determine the strengths of their own employees before referring them to Guild Education.

Based on the needs of said company, Guild Education builds an academic network which they manage on their clients’ behalf. This is where the partnerships with learning institutions and top not-for-profit universities come in.

Another aspect of Guild’s consulting side is that it operates a division of education coaches for employee-students staffed by real people—not a chatbot! This more personal approach coupled with the administration platform make a Guild’s user interface especially easy for companies to use.

They also offer analytics, forecasting, and statistical reporting based on that data generated by employee-students. As the company’s goal is to help uniquely tailor an education platform, client satisfaction is a prime concern because it directly reflects whether that company’s goals were achieved.

“Guild’s network also includes a wide variety of certificates and credentials in workforce topics,” says Carlson, “From software engineering and product management to plumbing and electrical trades, as well as English as a second language, college prep and high school completion.”

Depending on the industry in question, individual administrative platforming needs vary widely. A company like Discover Financial is after a more tech-oriented set of certifications and degrees. On the other hand, a restaurant like Taco Bell hopes to satisfy certain management requirements by giving employees access to those courses that will help them grow their administrative skills.

“We see employers choosing programs that meet the needs of their workforce with an emphasis on the training needed to prepare employees for jobs of the future,” she says. “Through our employer partners, 400,000 working adults have begun exploring their pathway to school with Guild.”

Lowes presents an interesting case study. The company offers a program called “Track to the Trades,” which emphasizes coursework, certifications, and programs in vocational training. Subjects include electrical tech work, carpentry, plumbing, appliance repair, and technical licensing in machining and manufacturing.

Then there’s Walmart’s very unique, very accessible model. It focuses on increasing the number of healthcare careers in the world. Due to the corporation’s interest in optometry and clinical medicine, they have made a push to better-educate their workforce.

“In addition to its existing programs in high-demand fields like technology, supply chains, and business, Walmart recently expanded its ‘Live Better U’ program with Guild to include degrees in healthcare, as well as career diplomas for pharmacy technicians and opticians as the company focuses on making quality healthcare more affordable and accessible in the communities it serves.”

Not surprisingly, as an employer itself, Guild Education offers a plethora of helpful benefits to its employees. One of these is an excellent student loan reimbursement program that can be scaled to fit an employee’s circumstances. Another is an added education benefit where Guild will cover up to 100 percent of a completed program from one of their partner institutions. Amazingly, the company also commits $5,250 toward degrees for its employers from schools with which it is not currently partnered.

With an evolving economy and changing workforce demographics, companies such as Guild Education are helping workers bridge their skills gaps and meet the new demands of a dynamic world.