Family members of Chili's and Maggiano's managers will now have access to free education programs offered by the chains' parent company, Brinker International.
Spouses, domestic partners and children of eligible workers can enroll in Brinker's Best You EDU program, which offers GED and associate's degree training as well as ESL, Spanish and other learning tracks.
The company said it wants to offer more support to staff as the cost of tuition rises, citing a recent Art & Science Group survey that showed 77% of high school seniors are worried about being able to afford college.
The expanded perk is also likely aimed at improving hiring and retention amid the ongoing labor shortage. The company noted that 80% of employees who have participated in a Best You EDU program in the past year are still with Brinker, and a quarter of managers who signed up were promoted.
Brinker said it's the first casual-dining company to offer education benefits to family members.
To be eligible for the perk, a worker must be management-level or above and have been with Brinker for more than six months. Each employee can extend the benefit to one family member.
Brinker introduced Best You EDU in 2018 in partnership with education company Pearson. It's available to all employees, from hourly to management, and provides online learning programs as well as individual coaches who help guide students through the process.
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