First Watch Restaurants Partner with Cengage to Serve Up Employee Education Benefits

Employees get free access to an accredited high school diploma and career certificate program through Cengage

BOSTON and SARASOTA, FLA, June 13, 2018 — Cengage, an education and technology company, and First Watch, the popular nationwide breakfast, brunch and lunch concept, have partnered to offer all First Watch employees the opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma and a specialized career certificate through Career Online High School (COHS).

COHS is designed to reengage adults in education, bolster self-esteem and boost their careers to the next level.  The program is available at no cost to First Watch employees.

“At First Watch Restaurants, our focus is always on our people first,” said Laura Sorensen, Chief People Officer, First Watch. “There is no better way to show our team members that they’re valuable to us than to offer benefits, like further education, that allow our employees to gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed personally and professionally.”

In addition to an accredited high school diploma, COHS graduates earn a credentialed career certificate in one of eight high-growth, high-demand career fields, further positioning them for success in the workforce. In fact, more than half of COHS graduates who enroll through corporate partners, like First Watch, have procured a new job, a raise, or a promotion within their company since graduating. In addition, more than 80% of graduates plan to enroll in post-secondary training upon completing COHS.

“Our corporate partners are leveraging education as a powerful recruitment and retention tool that benefits employees, customers and their business,” said Taryn McKenzie, Executive Director, Corporate & Workforce Partnerships at Cengage. “Career Online High School’s highly-supported model aligns well with First Watch’s culture, and we’re excited they are joining our growing list of corporate partners.”

First Watch joins other leading organizations, including McDonald’s, Walmart and Hilton in offering COHS to employees.

For more information on Career Online High School, please visit

For more information about First Watch and the company’s “You First” culture, including other employee educational benefits, please visit


About Cengage

Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. As the largest US-based provider of teaching and learning materials for higher ed, we offer valuable options at affordable price points. Our industry-leading initiatives include Cengage Unlimited, the first-of-its-kind all-access digital subscription service.  We embrace innovation to create learning experiences that build confidence and momentum toward the future students want. Headquartered in Boston, Cengage also serves K-12, library and workforce training markets around the world. Visit us at or find us on Facebook or Twitter.


About Career Online High School

Career Online High School was developed in 2012 through a partnership by ed2go, a division of Cengage that provides students with online continuing education and career training, and Smart Horizons Career Online Education in an effort to provide affordable, career-based online education opportunities for the millions of adults in the United States without high school diplomas. Please visit for more information.


About First Watch

First Watch specializes in award-winning, made-to-order Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch. A recipient of more than 200 “Best Breakfast” and “Best Brunch” accolades, First Watch offers traditional favorites, such as omelets, pancakes, sandwiches and salads, and unique specialty items like Quinoa Power Bowls, Avocado Toast and the Chickichanga. First Watch was recognized as one of Business Intelligence Group’s Best Places to Work in 2018 and as one of Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2017 Second 100 restaurant brands. First Watch is the largest and fastest-growing daytime-only restaurant concept in the United States with more than 330 restaurants in 29 states, including more than 250 First Watch restaurants, 75 The Egg & I restaurants and one Bread & Company restaurant in Nashville. For more information, visit