Target Corporation recently announced it will offer its more than 340,000 U.S.-based part-time and full-time frontline team members the most comprehensive debt-free education assistance program available in the retail industry.
Beginning this fall, all part-time and full-time team members working in Target stores, distribution centers and headquarters locations in the U.S. will be eligible for debt-free assistance for select undergraduate degrees, certificates, certifications, free textbooks and more with no out-of-pocket costs on their first day of work at Target. Target will invest $200 million over the next four years in the program.
“Target employs team members at every life stage and helps our team learn, develop and build their skills, whether they’re with us for a year or a career. A significant number of our hourly team members build their careers at Target, and we know many would like to pursue additional education opportunities. We don’t want the cost to be a barrier for anyone, and that’s where Target can step in to make education accessible for everyone,” says Melissa Kremer, chief human resources officer, Target. “Our team members are the heart of Target’s strategy and success, and we have a long history of investing in industry-leading pay, extensive benefits and career opportunities to help our team thrive and have rewarding careers at Target.”
Debt-Free Education Assistance
Team members will have options for assistance through a program that Target has been building for several months with education and upskilling platform Guild Education.
- Debt-Free Education: Target will support team members taking courses for high school completion, college prep, English language learning and select certificates, certifications, bootcamps, associate and undergraduate degrees. Team members can attend classes at more than 40 schools, colleges and universities, choosing from an industry-leading 250 business-aligned programs from Business Management and Operations to IT, Computer Science, Design and more. Team members who opt into this program won’t have any out-of-pocket costs and will have flexibility to find opportunities that fit with their interests, schedules and career goals. Academic institutions include the University of Arizona, Oregon State University, University of Denver and eCornell along with HBCUs Morehouse College, Paul Quinn College and more.
- Tuition Assistance: For team members pursuing educational opportunities outside of the select business-aligned programs within the Guild network of schools, including master’s degrees, Target will provide direct payments to their academic institution of up to $5,250 for non-master’s degrees and up to $10,000 for master’s degrees each year to reduce the burden of up-front, costly tuition payments.
- Educational Supplies: Target will also ensure that smaller out-of-pocket expenses and fees, such as textbooks and course fees, that may hinder team member participation, will also be covered at no cost to them.
Team Member Investments
This education assistance program is part of Target Forward, Target’s new sustainability strategy that includes goals to create an equitable and inclusive workforce. It also builds on Target’s well-established learning and development programs that offer a variety of opportunities for team members to learn and grow in their careers. Team members spend more than seven million hours in training annually, including participation in functional learning courses and trainings, leadership development programs, coaching, mentoring and more.
This is also the latest in a long history of investments Target makes to support the health, safety, well-being and career development of its team members. Target most recently awarded all U.S.-based frontline hourly full-time and part-time team members in stores, distribution centers and contact centers a $200 recognition bonus. And, in 2020, Target invested an additional $1 billion in the well-being, health and safety of team members compared with 2019. This included Target’s industry-leading move to a $15 starting wage for all U.S.-based team members, along with five recognition bonuses Target paid to thank team members for their work throughout the pandemic. Target also offers coronavirus benefits and has taken steps to ensure Target remains a clean, safe place for team members and guests.
Several benefits introduced during the pandemic have recently transitioned into ongoing benefits for all U.S.-based team members, including:
- Free access to health care through virtual doctor visits. Offered through the CirrusMD app, this program focuses on text-first virtual health care visits for team members to securely text, share images or video chat with a doctor. The platform is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at no extra cost to U.S.-based team members.
- Free access to online resources and apps that support mental, emotional and physical health. This is in addition to mental health support through Target’s longstanding Team Member Life Resources (TMLR) program, which offers free in-person or virtual counseling sessions. TMLR is available 24/7 to all team members, dependents and any member of the household to help with a variety of needs. All team members and their entire household can receive five free counseling sessions per need, per year. TMLR also provides resources for a wide variety of topics like managing money, finding childcare and dealing with stress.
What’s on the syllabus
Team members will have a range of options, including courses for high school completion, college prep and English language learning as well as select certificates, certifications, bootcamps, associate and undergraduate degrees. And schools, colleges and universities like the University of Arizona, Oregon State University and historically Black colleges and universities like Morehouse College and Paul Quinn College to choose from, there will be plenty of opportunity to find something that fits their interests, schedules and career goals.
For team members looking to continue their education in a master’s program or other field of study in the curated network of schools, Target will provide direct payments to their academic institution to reduce the burden of up-front, costly tuition payments. Target will also pay for textbooks and course fees that might otherwise hinder team member participation.
Here’s a closer look at how the benefit will work:
A quick history lesson
While this education benefit might be new, Target’s learning and development programming has a, well, history. Team members already spend more than 7 million hours in training annually, including participation in functional learning courses and trainings, leadership development programs, coaching, mentoring and more. And the commitment is part of our longstanding Target values, ensuring all team members have the skills, capabilities and support to build their careers.
The school of life
Prioritizing (and investing in) career development? It’s big for team members — but it’s also huge for Target when they stick with us. Just two examples: average store team leads (who oversee individual departments in Target stores), and average distribution center leaders stay at the Bullseye for at least seven years. And talk about early starts: more than 25% of Target store directors began their careers at Target as hourly team members.
This benefit is also the latest in Target’s investments to support our team members’ health, safety, well-being and career development. Target most recently awarded all U.S.-based frontline hourly full-time and part-time team members in stores, distribution centers and contact centers with a $200 recognition bonus. In 2020, Target invested an additional $1 billion in team members’ well-being, health and safety compared with 2019. This included Target’s industry-leading move to a $15 starting wage for all U.S.-based team members, along with five recognition bonuses Target paid to thank team members for their work throughout the pandemic. Target also offers coronavirus benefits and continues to take steps to ensure Target remains a clean, safe place for team members and guests.
Visit the Target Careers page to learn more about joining “Team Target” and receiving the paid tution benefit