NEPA McDonald’s franchise offering free college tuition for employees

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EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — A locally owned fast-food franchise is serving up happy meals and educational opportunities for its staff.

“I qualify for everything that they ask for and being able to go to college completely free is just completely awesome just to think about,” high school senior and McDonald’s employee Ian Richmond said.

Richmond works at one of the 16 Mueller family McDonald’s locations in northeastern and central Pennsylvania. Thanks to a new employee perk, the high school senior will earn his degree at Lackawanna College debt-free.

“We’re super excited! We were able to partner with Lackawanna College to be able to provide our employees with an accessible option in order for them to be able to pursue their educational dreams,” McDonald’s owner/operator Christina Mueller-Curran said.

Mueller-Curran joined forces with Lackawanna College to make this opportunity possible. It’s offered to all franchise employees who work a minimum of 16 hours per week.

After 90 days on the job, they can sign up for classes and start working towards a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. The efforts are aimed at attracting more staff members and helping them achieve their educational goals.

“We’ve been talking a lot about the issue of incredible workforce shortage as well as the issue of college debt and having students and families absorb that college debt is so often intimidating and we sort of put our heads together and came up with the idea that we can try to solve on a little scale both of those issues,” Lackawanna College president & chief innovation officer Jill A. Murray said.

Richmond looks forward to becoming an accountant. His mom and co-worker Denise says she couldn’t be happier.

“It’s a big relief on all of us. Him as you know a student, us as parents, and I think what will happen with other parents and children if they come to work here, just that thought of being tuition-free and not having any debt and to gain an education, it’s just something that doesn’t come around often at all,” Denise said.

This opportunity is only available at the 16 Mueller family McDonald’s locations in Scranton, Clarks Summit, Dickson City, Old Forge, Wilkes-Barre, Shavertown, Wyoming, Mountain Top, Carbondale, Tunkhannock, Eynon, Honesdale, Allentown, and Bethlehem.

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