The Swiss staffing company Adecco has made a deal to acquire the New York-based coding bootcamp and education technology startup General Assembly for $413 million, Axios’s Dan Primack reported on Monday. The acquisition reflects the evolution of GA’s business, which is increasingly focused on enterprise customers rather than individuals:
A majority of GA’s revenue by year-end is expected to be business-to-business, whereas it was only 15% two years ago. Most of that is in terms of re-skilling workers, including a “talent pipeline as-a-service” business whereby GA acts not only as a recruiter, but also as a trainer (with hiring companies paying the freight).
GA will continue to operate as an independent division under the umbrella of Adecco Group, co-founder and CEO Jake Schwartz said in a statement. Schwartz will remain at the helm of the company, reporting to Sergio Picarelli on Adecco’s executive committee, Jonathan Shieber adds at TechCrunch.
Joining the European conglomerate is “not an ignominious outcome for General Assembly,” Shieber comments, “but not the exit that many in the New York tech ecosystem had hoped for”:
The KFC Foundation, the charitable arm of the fast food chain, is providing a new benefit for employees of both corporate-owned and franchised KFC restaurants in the US: personal finance coaching. According to a press release from the foundation, the MyChange program, offered in partnership with the mobile financial planning service company Sum180, “fosters personalized financial wellness and teaches foundational personal finance skills” to employees, combining a confidential financial wellness app with a personal adviser who can help them budget, plan, and learn more about how to manage their personal finances.
The MyChange program comes in addition to several other educational benefits KFC offers its US employees through the foundation:
MyChange joins several other KFC Foundation offerings, including Rise with GEDworks (personalized high school credential assistance), the KFC Family Fund (hardship and crisis assistance), and the REACH Educational Grant Program (college tuition assistance at $2,000, $2,500 and $3,000 award levels), rounding out the employee assistance organization to support the whole wellbeing of KFC’s restaurant employees.
Krista Snider, managing director of the KFC Foundation, tells Amanda Eisenberg at Employee Benefit News more about how the program came to life:
Amazon Web Services appears to be developing its own enterprise learning management system (LMS), CNBC technology reporter Jordan Novet noticed recently, suggesting that the e-commerce giant’s cloud computing business is shifting its focus from digital infrastructure toward ready-to-use business services:
Amazon already has online training programs for partners to train their employees on how to use AWS offerings. This would be a broader general-purpose service that companies could use to manage all kinds of corporate training and learning programs. Amazon explored the learning-management field and concluded that none of the available tools were just right for its own workers, and executives decided the company would build its own system, one person familiar with the matter told CNBC. The idea was to build something “commercializable,” the person said. It’s not clear when the service could become available publicly.
Novet points to several job listings Amazon has posted recently for roles related to this project, including one for a solution architect that is billed as “an opportunity for an experienced technologist to be on the ground floor of building a learning platform.” Several companies that offer existing learning management platforms, including Instructure, Cornerstone, and Workday, are AWS customers.
The news also helps explain Amazon’s recent hire of Stanford professor Candace Thille, an expert on non-traditional learning, applications of technology in education, and data-driven approaches to training with a background in both academia and corporate training. While Thille’s role as director of learning science and engineering is focused on developing Amazon’s training programs for its own employees, a version of whatever the company develops internally could ultimately be marketed to customers, as Novet’s source indicated.
As Amazon is a prominent leader in the technology and user experience space, the learning and development community is interested to see what they can do with an LMS: a staple of L&D. Our research at CEB, now Gartner, finds that most organizations are already striving to create an “Amazon-like experience” in their learning portals (recommending learning based on your personal profile and experiences, in the same way Amazon recommends products); now Amazon has the opportunity to build it themselves.
McDonald’s announced last week that it was expanding its education benefits program for employees to both increase the value of the benefit and widen the pool of employees who are eligible for it, USA Today reported on Thursday:
Previously, employees had to be on the job for nine months before having a shot at tuition assistance, but that’s been dropped to 90 days. Plus, the weekly shift minimum was 20 hours and now is 15 hours. The changes will make close to 400,000 U.S. employees eligible, the company said. Now, staffers can get as much as $2,500 a year from the Archways to Opportunity program for a trade school, a community college or a four-year university — up from $700. For managers, the figure jumps from $1,050 per year to $3,000.
Some employees’ family members will also now be eligible for assistance. The changes, which McDonald’s attributed to a tight labor market and the savings it accrued from the recent cut in the corporate tax rate, are funded by a $150 million commitment the fast-food giant is making to the program over the coming five years. Since launching in 2015, the company says, Archways to Opportunity has distributed over $21 million in assistance to around 24,000 people.
The program, which is open to employees of both McDonald’s franchises and company-owned restaurants, is offered in partnership with the online education company Cengage Learning. Amanda Eisenberg goes into more detail about how the expanded program will work at Employee Benefit News:
Taco Bell announced this week that after piloting a program to provide employees at 700 of its restaurants with education benefits in partnership with Guild Education, the fast-food chain is expanding the program to 210,000 employees at its 7,000 locations, including many franchises, Amanda Eisenberg reports at Employee Benefit News:
Through Guild Education’s reduced-cost courses and degree programs, both corporate and hourly Taco Bell workers have access to more than 2,000 classes and programs in their pursuit of undergraduate or graduate degrees, college-level education, a GED, or mastery of English as a second language. Combined with the company’s education benefit of up to $5,250 in tuition assistance, paid upfront, and access to federal financial aid, employees are expected to pay little to nothing for the benefit. …
Two thousand Taco Bell employees enrolled in the nine-month pilot program, and 98% of those employees stayed at the company for more than six months, says Rachel Carlson, CEO and co-founder of Guild Education. “That’s phenomenal, especially in fast casual,” she says, noting the retention rates of workers in the program were 34% higher than those who were not enrolled.
Taco Bell took inspiration for its education benefit from Chipotle, which also partnered with Guild Education to help its employees finish college, and McDonald’s, whose employees can earn high school diplomas through the company’s “Archways to Opportunity” program, a partnership with Cengage Learning.
One of the innovations in organizational learning and development promised by the UK’s apprenticeship levy scheme, which came into effect last year, was that it would enable employers to apply the apprenticeship model to professional and managerial roles in addition to its traditional use in skilled trades. As of last October, however, official figures showed that only half of companies eligible for levy funds were using them, and often on training programs other than apprenticeships, such as sending their executives to earn MBAs.
Personnel Today’s Rob Moss highlights some new research from ILM that investigates how HR decision makers in the UK are applying their training budgets, which turned up one possible reason why few organizations are approaching management training through apprenticeships: 58 percent of respondents said middle and senior managers would be unwilling to be seen as an apprentice due to the “reputation and image” of apprenticeships and the implication that they require additional support:
Professionals’ reluctance to be seen as an apprentice could be putting businesses at a significant disadvantage. Of those surveyed who currently run a formal leadership training programme to help fill middle and senior management or leadership roles, over two thirds (70%) aim their programmes at mid-level employees. Yet only a quarter (25%) would consider using apprenticeships to improve the skills of middle managers, and 21% would consider using them to develop senior managers.
The New York City Council is considering what the New York Times describes as “a raft of legislation” to address sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace, including a requirement that all businesses with at least 15 employees conduct sexual harassment prevention training:
Much of the legislation, called the Stop Sexual Harassment in New York City Act, is focused on addressing instances of sexual misconduct that may go unreported, particularly within city agencies. Several of the bills create reporting requirements for city contractors or agencies. One bill would create a system for surveying agencies to prompt anonymous disclosure of potential problems to try to prevent harassment.
Private employers would also be required to display a poster with practical examples of sexual harassment, as well as a way to contact city, state or federal authorities with complaints.
If the legislation passes, New York City will become one of only a few jurisdictions where private employers are required to provide this training. California and Connecticut require that organizations with at least 50 employees provide training to supervisors, while Maine requires organizations of at least 15 people to train all employees, plus additional training for supervisors. Some states have sexual harassment training requirements for public sector employees or educators, while others encourage but don’t mandate it for private employers, and still others take the presence of such training into account in judging whether an employer was negligent in a sexual harassment case.