NEAR WEST SIDE — With the summer hiring season fast approaching, McDonald’s announced Tuesday it would be hiring 2,400 seasonal employees in Chicago, with the objective of giving more opportunities to teens and young adults in the area.
The chain made the push for its Archways to Opportunity program Tuesday at a McDonald’s franchise at 23 N. Western Ave. on the Near West Side.
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Chicago) joined McDonald’s owner/operator Akins Akinnagbe, McDonald’s Director of Education Strategies Lisa Schumacher and World Business Chicago CEO Andrea Zopp to announce the hiring blitz and the changes to the “Archways” program, an initiative that helps employees pursue higher education.
“Archways to Opportunity is designed to meet people where they are,” said Schumacher. “Because of our size and scale, we believe we can be part of the solution to the education gap.”
Eligible crew members and managers will have access to $2,500-$3,000 in college tuition assistance, while others looking to get their high school diplomas can enroll in the chain’s online high school completion program. The company also provides academic and career counseling to employees and their families.
While most of the benefits were only available to workers after nine months of employment, McDonald’s changed their eligibility requirements to allow employees who work 15 or more hours a week to receive assistance after 90 days.
Since launching in April 2015, Archways to Opportunity has provided $3.6 million to 1,600 employees across the state, and has produced 28 high school graduates.
Taylor Porter, an employee who recently graduated from St. Xavier University with a degree in communications, said McDonald’s played a pivotal role in furthering her education.
“A lot of the things I learned in class helped me become a better communicator on the job,” said Porter, who currently works as an operations consultant, and is shadowing a local McDonald’s owner/operator in hopes of opening her own franchise one day.
Zopp praised the fast food chain for being a good neighbor, noting their $3.2 million contribution to the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund since returning to the city last year.
“We know that one of the biggest challenges facing students, particularly students who are the first to go to college, is the cost of education. There’s no better way to help young people than to help them pay for an education,” said Zopp.