Getting Ahead For Free: Making Use of Employer-Subsidized Training and Development
Let’s be honest with one another. Money- for many is neither easy to come by – nor is it easy to keep once acquired. According to the College Board, college tuition in the US ranged from: $11,438 for two-year public schools to $43,921 for a four-year private school. The Wall Street Journal reported in May 2015 that the average 2015 college graduate would have to pay back $35,000 in student loans or more making them the most indebted class to date.

Getting ahead and keeping your skills sharp has never been more important and expensive. This is why one of the number one tips I have shared with people looking to further their education or training is to: “find an employer that will pay for it in whole, part or subsidize it. “ Many employers offer tuition reimbursement of some kind.

Some of the offerings include the following:

Scenario 1) You pay for your tuition upfront and the company reimburses you based on a passing grade or some other criteria.

Scenario 2) The company has a deal with a local college or university and you get a deep discount on your tuition.

Scenario 3) The company pays for your education in full and it is at no cost to you, so long as you garner a passing grade.

After being in HR for over 10 years, I can tell you that not enough people take advantage of this benefit where they work. It doesn’t make sense to be working for a company for 30+ years and complaining about why your upward mobility is stagnant or that you’re unfamiliar with the changes within your industry of choice.

If you are looking for a job, add this perk/benefit to your wish list as you screen prospective employers. Conversely, if you are currently employed and are ruminating about how you can afford the next round of education, talk to your HR team or check out your employee handbook. You may be sitting on a gold mine of money that can be easily invested in your education and training.

Over the years, I have gone back to school for five certifications to strengthen my knowledge, skills, and abilities. Each certification ranged in price from $8,000-$20,000 each. One of my previous employers paid for the first four certifications upfront- no out-of-pocket cost for me. The last certification- which is a Master’s Certificate was paid in full by another previous employer. In both of these scenarios, I only had to speak-up and get good grades (note: some employers will not reimburse or will require repayment for failed courses). It is a pretty significant tradeoff for you to avoid loan debt and continue to develop yourself.

Don’t walk, run to your benefits group and start utilizing these benefits sooner rather than later. You will thank yourself at a later date

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