If you’re familiar with our BOOK IT! program, then it should come as no surprise to you that Pizza Hut recently announced that we are doubling down on our commitment to education. Life Unboxed EDU, now in its pilot phase, offers a truly thoughtful and innovative way for our Pizza Hut teams to get a college degree.
Why is it great? For so many reasons. We’re partnering with Excelsior College, a fully accredited, private, non-profit college with degrees at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Excelsior has courses available both online and a campus in New York; their convenient, online learning model and over 14 degree programs from associate level to masters come with lots of program support and guidance regardless of your chosen field of study.
But wait, there’s more. We sat down with Marnie Alvarenga, one of the big minds spearheading this initiative. If you haven’t read her story, check it out. She’s been with Pizza Hut for a while now, and knows that it isn’t the easiest to juggle Pizza Hut and school. “For me, when I went back to school as an Area Coach, it wasn’t cheap, it wasn’t fast, and it was NOT easy. Excelsior being fully accredited, it still isn’t easy, but it does break down a lot of those other barriers—the expensive and time consuming pieces.”
Pizza Hut’s partnership with Excelsior means we can offer a 45% tuition discount for employees AND their families. In addition, college credits can be earned for completing courses on Pizza Hut’s Learning Zone, where we offer restaurant training for team members (and which, in theory, could translate to up to 53 credit hours). Excelsior is also looking into scholarship matching, and FAFSA funding is available.
“We’re not just offering tuition reimbursement, but we’re offering a way for you to get your degree faster by doing stuff that you’re already doing,” says Marnie. “That learning zone credits can count toward your degree—that’s huge. You may be over halfway to finishing your degree, if you’re an Area Coach.”
Currently we have 52 Pizza Hut employees in a pilot program, and their feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Within that group, there are 11 different degrees being sought; three people are going for their MBA. We will be launching the program nationally in January, with classes opening for registration mid-November. Check out lifeunboxed.excelsior.edu for more information!