Workforce Development

Program Profile: McDonald’s High School Completion

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



Upskilling program name

High School Completion

Program goal(s)

McDonald’s recognizes that when it comes to education, not everyone starts at the same place. For example, we know that some do not have their high school diplomas or GEDs. McDonald’s High School Completion program will create opportunities for McDonald’s employees and the employees of its independent franchisees to earn their high school diplomas.

  • Thanks to a partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, at the end of 2014, McDonald’s began to pilot a nationally accredited Career Online High School (COHS) program for its corporate-owned restaurant managers – offering them the opportunity to get their high school diploma through COHS. Today, there are 20 individuals currently enrolled.
  • As of January 1, 2015 the Career Online High School program is provided at no cost to all restaurant managers and crew who work at least 20 hours per week and have been employed by McDonald’s or an independent owner/operator restaurant for at least one year.

From a business perspective, investing in the education of restaurant employees impacts recruitment, retention and capability.

Who provides the program services (in-house, outside provider, etc.)?

Outside provider

If outside providers, please list key partners.

Career Online High School

Who is the program is designed to assist?

All eligible restaurant employees

Who is eligible for the program?

All eligible restaurant employees:

  • Full time managers
  • Crew working an average of 20 hours/week who have been employed for cumulative 9 months.
How is the program funded (i.e., company/participant share; prepaid by company vs. individual reimbursement; etc.)?

Funded by company

Is there an annual or lifetime cap on the program benefits?


Do employees get paid time off to participate or are they in any way compensated for their participation?


What is your participation goal, and what actions are you taking to reach that goal?

One restaurant employee in every restaurant taking advantage of Archways to Opportunity programs, including Career Online High School, for a total of 14,000.

What, if any, supports do you have in place to ensure participants complete the program?

Career Online High School includes an education coach that monitors individuals progress.

What data are you collecting/tracking?


How do you think about, measure, or plan to measure the benefits the program brings to the company?

Graduation rates and retention rates

What results have you seen to date?

65 high school gradates in under 2 years

In hindsight, what is the best decision you made in setting up this program?

Offering a program that is focused on working adults that dropped out of high school, is competency based and includes a coach.

What, if any, changes have you made in the program since its introduction? Why were these changes made?

We make continual changes to ensure the process of signing up and participating in COHS is as easy as possible.

What advice would you give those considering a similar project?

Understand the barriers this population faces



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