Disney offers tuition for hourly workers in tight job market

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP/WSVN) — Disney is offering to pay full tuition for hourly workers who want to earn a college degree or finish a high school diploma.

The Walt Disney Co. announced Wednesday it will pay upfront tuition to workers who want to take classes starting in the fall, and will also reimburse application fees as well as required books and materials.

Disney initially will invest $50 million into the “Disney Aspire” program and up to $25 million a year after that. The company says the move will impact more than 80,000 cast members and employees.

Other large corporations have begun paying tuition for workers in a job market with low unemployment.

In May, Walmart said it will offer workers the chance to get a college degree at three universities with online programs.

Disney is rolling out its program in phases, with the first limited to online classes. It is being administered by Guild Education, the same firm operating Walmart’s program.

“Disney Aspire 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,” said Jayne Parker, senior executive vice president & chief HR officer.

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