Employment and Jobs

Models of Upskilling: High School Completion/Equivalency

June 1, 2017  • UpSkill America & Jaime S. Fall

Estimates indicate that approximately 40 million working-age adults in the US do not have a high school diploma. [i] To advance in their careers, these individuals will need to attain high school diplomas or earn a GED. These are the most foundational workforce credentials people must possess to be positioned for advancement. Many employers are now working with high school or GED completion programs to help their entry-level workers complete their high school education. Examples include the following:

Disney Aspire

In August 2018, The Walt Disney Company announced the launch of Disney Aspire, an education program for 80,000 hourly employees in the US. The program includes a network of schools that offer a wide array of disciplines and diplomas—including college and master’s degrees, high school equivalency, English-language learning, vocational training, and more. The company covers 100 percent of the cost of tuition, application fees, books, and materials. Aspire gives employees choice and flexibility with their studies, regardless of whether the program and classes they choose are tied to their current role at Disney. Disney has partnered with Guild Education to provide personalized coaching for participating employees.

Hilton Worldwide GED Assistance Program

Hilton partners with the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) to give its team members the help and support they need to study for and pass the GED exam. Participants receive one-on-one advising and test preparation support at no cost. The program also covers the cost of the GED exam.

ManpowerGroup’s MyPath Program

ManpowerGroup’s MyPath program allows employees to earn their high school equivalency or college degree at no cost. The program includes a full college tuition coverage program offering eligible US associates the opportunity to pursue a college education through Western International University, along with career counseling to help associates make career choices that are right for them. MyPath provides associates with assessment, guidance, development, and an education that positions them for career opportunities with Manpower in the US. In 2017, ManpowerGroup expanded its MyPath program through a partnership with University or Phoenix to offer more degree courses in a wide range of in-demand subjects including cybersecurity, information technology and health administration. In 2019, ManpowerGroup announced it was expanding the program to include support for high school equivalency through the General Education Diploma (GED) program.

McDonald’s Career Online High School Program

McDonald’s employees can graduate from high school by successfully completing classes online — whenever and wherever it’s convenient for them — through Cengage’s Career Online High School. The school even helps students navigate the process of applying credits from high school courses they’ve already completed.

Walmart Career Online High School Program

Originally a benefit for employees, Walmart has expanded its partnership with Cengage’s Career Online High School to offer all Walmart associates and their benefits-eligible family members the opportunity to earn accredited high school diplomas and career certificates. Offered through Walmart’s Lifelong Learning program, Cengage’s Career Online High School is designed to re-engage adults in education and is free for Walmart associates and eligible family members beginning on the first day of employment.

Walmart and Walmart.org are supporters of UpSkill America, an initiative of the Economic Opportunities Program.



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[i] “Diploma to Career Pathways,” Ohio Board of Regents (2014).