Redner’s Markets Inc. is using a new tuition reimbursement program to encourage employees at its local warehouse markets to go to school.
Starting this fall, Redner’s will pay employees who are also full-time Bucks County Community College students $92 for every credit hour they earn. The total is capped at $750 per semester about eight credits and $6,000 over the course of the student’s time at the college.
Company spokesman Eric White said the “Food for Thought” program will help Redner’s employees cover education costs and give the business a tool it can use to recruit and develop its work force.
“I think it’s a great program,” said Penndel’s Mike Smith, a freshman engineering student who works at Redner’s Middletown Township store. “Classes at Bucks are not that much so this covers a really big portion and I’m more motivated to do better at school.”
Lower Makefield’s Danielle Hunter, a recent Pennsbury graduate who has been working at Redner’s for three years, said the tuition reimbursement program was a factor in her decision to go to Bucks County Community College.
She said that many high school graduates simply cannot afford to continue their education.
“This makes it cheaper,” she said.
The Berks County-based Redner’s has 40 warehouse markets, including ones in Middletown, Warrington and Quakertown, and a dozen convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland.
So far, Redner’s is offering the tuition reimbursement program only for Bucks County Community College students.
“Our vice president has a good relationship with Bucks County (Community College) and there are a couple of stores surrounding the college that we can help pull students from,” White said.
The company is also piloting a program in which high school student employees can receive one tuition-reimbursement dollar for every hour they work, with a lifetime maximum of $2,000. That program is being offered only at Wilson Senior High School in Berks County.
Eventually, White said, Redner’s intends to partner with schools in each of its markets to expand both programs.
“Before we roll it out everywhere, we want to test it,” he said. “We’ll start small, but you’ll see some growth.”
Four employees have applied for the community college tuition reimbursement so far, said Judy Graham, director of business development for the college’s center for work force development.
“The college is very excited about the program,” said Graham.
It would also apply to courses taken at the Newtown Township college’s satellite locations in Bristol Township and Perkasie. Students must maintain a “C” average and be in good standing with Redner’s to qualify for the reimbursement.
Information from: Bucks County Courier Times, http://www.phillyburbs.com
– Associated Press
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