Educating employees has long been an emphasis for organizations, but they've had a difficult time practicing what they preach. To meet its employee learning challenges, Disney has implemented the Disney Aspire program, which became available to employees in September.
The company has partnered with Guild Education, an organization that is aiming to reshape the future of work and adult education. Thanks to the new plan, eligible U.S.-based hourly, full-time, and part-time Disney cast members—of which there are more than 80,000—do not have to pay to learn. After investing $50 million up front, Disney will make a $25 million maximum annual investment in its employees toward the cost of tuition, making it easier for cast members to jump-start their educations.
Disney Aspire offers a wide umbrella of flexibility of potential studies. The program includes a network of schools with a wide array of disciplines and diplomas—including college and master's degrees, high school equivalency, English-language learning, and vocational training, among other subjects.
Ultimately, Disney is paying for students and adults to further their education however the individuals see fit.
According to Chris Trout, vice president of L&D for the Walt Disney Company, all it takes is a 90-day commitment as an employee for this benefit to kick in—nothing more.