HOWELL, Mich. — With a vision of reinventing how people achieve advanced education without creating a deep well of debt or threatening the existence of colleges and universities, Cleary University and TEAM Schostak are launching an innovative partnership to provide online higher education to hourly, part-time and full-time employees and their families (including grandchildren).
The partnership, which launches July 26, 2019, provides tuition benefits in much the same way companies provide health insurance to employees and their families. The Tuition Benefits Program will cover 100 percent of tuition costs for undergraduate and graduate degrees through Cleary’s online platform for employees, their significant others, and their families, in the five states where Team Schostak operates restaurants and businesses.
While many companies reimburse employees for advanced education and training, this program takes the concept farther and under a different type of model, according to Jayson Boyers, Cleary President. “Sixty years ago, health insurance was not acquired through employment. Today, we take that benefit for granted. Our vision is to create the same model but for college education, so individuals can attain higher education without being buried in debt.”
Equally as important, Boyers says, is the partnership between private, nonprofit universities and industry, creating a win-win – universities achieve sustainability and industry builds their workforce, which creates loyalty, longevity, and room for advancement. “I believe innovative partnerships can alleviate the college debt crisis,” he notes.
Research shows that 93 percent of employees who earn a degree that is paid for by their company acquire the skills needed to grow within their company – and they are more likely to stay on. Fifty-six percent say they would not have pursued advanced education without employer funding.
According to an October 2018 Forbes article, more than 44 million borrowers collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loans – the second largest consumer debt category today after mortgages. At the same time, post-secondary education enrollment is decreasing, although online enrollment is growing.
“The success of our organization is rooted in our people,” says Mark Schostak, executive chairman of TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants. “We are committed to training and developing our people, and we are proud to extend that same benefit to their family members with the Tuition Benefits Program. By fostering a platform for our team to continue their education, we are investing in our state and its future leaders.”
The Cleary-TEAM Schostak partnership provides free tuition for employees and their families – including part-time and hourly employees, and their children and grandchildren.
“This is a way to improve the economic destinies for three generations of the American workforce,” Boyers says. “By including family members, we are improving household health and grooming next level management. It’s a virtuous circle.”
This partnership fits in with Cleary’s mission. The university recently launched The Cleary Mind™, a Business Arts Curriculum designed to empower business leaders with biggerthan-bottom-line perspective.
“This is about the relationship between higher education and the workforce,” Boyers says. “There is not a viable pathway for people on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale to achieve higher education without creating a sinkhole of debt. This is about partner and prosper – for all involved. Higher education can and should change its tuition model. We cannot be afraid about survival and cling to old ways of doing things that no longer serve any of us.”
From TEAM Schostak’s perspective, the Tuition Benefits Program is a way to encourage lifelong learning and equip its workforce with skills that will help them rise through the ranks and build a career with the company. Employees may use the benefits to enroll in associate, bachelor’s or master’s degrees in Cleary’s online program, including programs in business administration, hospitality management and culinary. The program also pays for tuition for Cleary’s Master of Science and MBA programs.
About Cleary University
Established in 1883, Cleary University is an independent, nonprofit, accredited university, with multiple sites in Michigan and a robust online program. Cleary focuses on specialized business education, providing practical, project-based learning that advances careers. Its main campus, with student residents, is located in Howell, Mich., and it was ranked as one of the top 50 online college programs by Best Online Colleges. Recently, the Center for Michigan, in nonpartisan economic research for the state legislature, named Cleary second in the state when it comes to return on investment for education. Learn more at www.cleary.edu. About TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants Livonia, Mich.-based TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants is a family-owned restaurant group with an expansive portfolio of casual dining, quick service and family dining restaurants throughout the state of Michigan. With a commitment to quality operations, TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants is an industry leader in attracting, developing and retaining the most talented work force that proudly delights its guests and sets an unmatched standard of excellence. For the past three decades, TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants has expanded its restaurant catalog to include 65 Applebee’s (including the world’s only co-branded Applebee’s/IHOP, inside Detroit’s Millender center), 28 Olga’s Kitchen restaurants, 13 MOD Pizza restaurants, and eight Del Taco restaurants. Additionally, in May 2019 TSFR increased its portfolio to include 56 Wendy’s locations across Michigan. For more information, visit www.teamschostak.com.
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