Cengage Learning Joins Obama Administration for UpSkill America Summit, Announces Expanded Commitments to Support Front-Line Workers

Workforce Initiatives with McDonald’s, Walmart to Equip Employees with Skills for Advancement

WASHINGTON—April 24, 2015—Cengage Learning today joined Obama Administration officials, including Vice President Biden, for the White House UpSkill America Summit, a gathering of national business and education leaders to focus on efforts to train more front-line American workers. As the economy continues to improve, American businesses are creating more jobs for skilled workers and now they need employees with the right skills to fill those positions.

President Obama’s State of the Union Address called for a renewal of economic opportunity in America and companies nationwide — seeking commitments to implement practices that enable more front-line workers to advance into better paying jobs.  Among the efforts highlighted as part of the Summit, the Obama Administration announced two new commitments leveraging Cengage Learning’s Career Online High School (COHS), to offer career certificate training and accredited high school diplomas to all eligible U.S. employees at McDonald’s Corporation and Walmart Stores Inc. These partnerships have the potential to change the lives of up to 10,000 front-line workers in the first year.

“With a shortage of skilled workers for today’s workforce, there is a clear need to change the game for  frontline workers with learning and training opportunities leading to marketable and nationally recognized credentials,” said Ron Stefanski, Executive Director of Strategic Alliances at Cengage Learning. “Through partnerships with visionary companies such as McDonald’s and Walmart, we see great opportunity to impact workers directly.  Innovative education and training can make a profound difference in advancing the Upskill America challenge and lead directly to higher paying jobs.”

McDonald’s Corporation
Through its partnership with Cengage Learning, McDonald’s hopes to reach at least 5,000 employees with a single elective career course, also making this resource available to its franchise stores. Building on a previous partnership with Cengage Learning that brought these resources to its corporate employees, up to 1,000 McDonald’s employees are expected to complete the elective course and move on to complete the entire Cengage Learning COHS diploma program.

“At McDonald’s, we believe that education is the true game-changer and we’re proud to provide tools and world-class training that help our people succeed,” said Rich Floersch, Executive Vice President of Global Human Resources, McDonald’s Corporation. “As part of our Archways to Opportunity program, we are pleased to be working with Cengage Learning’s Career Online High School to make a high school diploma, as well as a career certificate that provides real world career skills, possible.”

Walmart Stores Inc.
Cengage Learning has also entered into an expanded partnership with Walmart to offer its COHS program for free to all U.S. Walmart associates. This expands upon a pilot this past year where 1,300 associates participated in a first career certificate course. Of those participants, 30 percent successfully completed the course and moved on to enroll in the full high school program. To-date, 85 percent of these associates are on pace to complete their accredited high school credential and career certificate. Walmart’s leading role with this program provides access for thousands of associates to participate in upskilling opportunities.

Brian Poland, Director, Lifelong Learning & Education at Walmart, has been a strategic partner with Cengage Learning’s Career Online High School since 2014 in order to provide upskilling opportunities to their 1.2 million associates nationwide. “After only nine months since program launch, we already have eleven graduates with many more associates nearing program completion,” said Poland.

COHS was developed in 2012 through a partnership by Cengage Learning and Smart Horizons Career Online Education in an effort to provide affordable and accredited, career-based opportunities for the millions of adults in the United States without high school diplomas. COHS serves a number of leading organizations with opportunities for employees and communities, such as Brown Mackie College, Maricopa Community College District, Tarrant County College District, Kinexus, the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, and other corporations, non-profits and public library systems. To learn more about the COHS program and partnership opportunities, please visit http://www.careeronlinehs.org/.


About Cengage Learning

Cengage Learning is a leading educational content, technology, and services company for the higher education and K-12, professional and library markets worldwide. The company provides superior content, personalized services and course-driven digital solutions that accelerate student engagement and transform the learning experience. Cengage Learning is headquartered in Boston, MA with an office hub located in San Francisco, CA. Cengage Learning employees reside in nearly 40 different countries with company sales in more than 125 countries around the world.  www.cengage.com.