McDonald’s and its franchisees will hire approximately 5,000 new employees throughout the state this summer, the restaurant chain said Friday.
The announcement was made in Newark, which is in line for 200 of those employees. Mayor Ras Baraka was in attendance as McDonald’s rolled out its improved Archways to Opportunity program, which offers educational opportunities to students in high school through college.
Enrollees can earn a high school diploma, receive college tuition assistance and advising services and learn English as a second language.
“Today is a great day because we are talking about expanding opportunities for employees to further their education,” Baraka said in a statement. “And that’s great, because they are not just furthering their education to work at McDonald’s. They can further their education to work wherever they want to work, which is incredible, to me … and not many corporations are willing to invest to provide that. It is a very progressive thing to do.”
Since the program launched in 2015, about 500 New Jersey employees have received over $550,000 in tuition assistance. McDonald’s announced in March an allocation of $150 million to Archways to Opportunity over five years, thus opening up to program to an additional 400,000 employees.
The newly expanded program, which took effect on May 1, lowered the eligibility requirements from nine months of employment to 90 days, and dropped the weekly hours minimum from 20 to 15. It also increased tuition assistance from $700 per year for crewmembers and $1,050 for managers to $2,500 and $3,000, respectively.
McDonald’s said the increased investment was fast-tracked by changes in the U.S. tax law.