Archways was designed to be easy to access, Palmaccio added. Anyone who works an average of 15 hours a week for 90 days is eligible. Part-timers can get up to $2,500, while full-time managers can receive $3,000 toward tuition and costs. Employees are eligible for that amount each year as long as they are still working. And the term “costs” is flexible.
“The amount can go toward earning a high school diploma, up front tuition, even English as a Second Language courses,” Palmaccio said. “A student can use it at any level.”
The program has been well received by employees and, in many cases, their parents, Palmaccio said. “It’s been a great joy talking to many parents who are happy about what McDonald’s is doing. The employees love it because, in some situations, it frees them up to work on their education. It’s hard to balance paying for your own school and having to work, and this gives them a way to balance the load while they work on developing themselves for the future.”
Some employees, including McKinney, don’t consider continuing their educations until they learn about the money that’s available to help them, Palmaccio said. McKinney got serious after learning about Archways from friends who were in it, and it turned out to be such a positive experience that he’s now looking to continue his education with a college program in video production or graphic design.
“I did not expect what they did for me,” he said. “My whole team has very much supported me through the whole thing. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have had the motivation. And I’ve told my daughter: If I make it, she can make it.”
SEND US YOUR STORIES.
Each week we look at programs, projects and successful endeavors at area schools, from pre-K to grad school. To suggest a story, contact H.M. Cauley at email@example.com or 770-744-3042.