Philly McDonald's Announces Help for Workers Returning to School

The program, which was started in April of 2015, aims to help McDonald’s employees complete high school and college degrees.

Looking for a summer job that will help pay for college? Philadelphia area McDonalds owners and operators John and Danielle Dawkins might have a solution for you. The father-daughter pair held an event on Wednesday, with Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clark, to reaffirm their commitment to summer hiring and to announce changes to their Archways to Opportunity program that makes it easier for employees to further their education.

The changes, which will go into effect this summer, have reduced the length of time an employee must work for the company before becoming eligible from nine months to 90 days. This will allow new summer hires to be eligible for the program just in time for college start dates in the fall. Employees must work at least 15 hours a week to qualify.

The program, which was started in April of 2015, aims to help McDonald’s employees complete high school and college degrees by helping students complete their high school diplomas and through providing tuition assistance, free education advising services and English as a second language classes.

Since its beginning, the program has provided over 16,400 employees with tuition assistance nationwide. The high school completion program has seen more than 300 U.S. graduates.

Several employees at Danielle Dawkins’ restaurants have participated in Archways to Opportunity’s high school completion program.

“Before this, they weren’t proud to tell anyone that they hadn’t completed high school, but now they… can take advantage of this opportunity,” Dawkins said.

Dawkins’ restaurants also provide up to $2,500 in tuition assistance for regular crew members and $3,000 for managers. This has been especially helpful for students since one of her locations is on the Temple University main campus.

“They can work at their own schedule for the minimum of fifteen hours a week and they’re able to get the money to provide payments for a class or their books,” Dawkins said. "It’s been extremely beneficial.”

Clark recognized the value this program has brought to the community.

“McDonalds understood that people need to go to another level and being a true, focused citizen, they have taken it to another level," he said. "They have understood the importance of providing opportunity… not just in terms of having employment, but in terms of furthering education.”

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