Businesses leading the way to economic opportunity for America's workers

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Why Discover Is Giving Its Employees a Free College Degree

Discover's new college tuition program, The Discover College Commitment, opens the door for any eligible employee to earn a fully-paid college degree. Delivered in partnership with Guild Education, the benefit has no tenure requirement so employees can start participating as soon as their first day. Read More

McDonald’s Sets Global Goal to Reduce Barriers to Employment for Two Million Youth

McDonald’s announced a new initiative called Youth Opportunity, with a global goal to reduce barriers to employment for two million young people by 2025 through pre-employment job readiness training, employment opportunities, and workplace development programs. The company will distribute $1 million in grants to local community organizations in Chicago to deliver job readiness training for young people who have less access to opportunities. McDonald’s will distribute a further $1 million in grant money to Skills for Chicagoland’s Future to develop a new apprenticeship program with City Colleges of Chicago. Read More

Disney Invests in Employees’ Futures with Unprecedented Education Program

Disney Aspire offers a wide array of disciplines and diplomas—including college and master’s degrees, high school equivalency, English-language learning, vocational training, and more—for 80,000 hourly employees in the US. The company covers 100 percent of the cost of tuition, application fees, books, and materials. Aspire gives employees choice and flexibility with their studies, regardless of whether the program and classes they choose are tied to their current role at Disney. Disney has partnered with Guild Education to provide personalized coaching for participating employees. Read More

Perris, California, Offers College Degrees to City Employees

The City of Perris, California, is giving city employees the opportunity to earn a free college degree. The partnership with, Civic Scholars, offers participants a bachelor’s degree pathway at no cost to the student. The online program allows students to access course materials at any time, giving them the convenience to complete the program on their own terms, even those with full-time work schedules and family obligations. As of August 2018, 19 City of Perris employees are enrolled in Civic Scholars, and is looking to expand the program to other municipalities. Read More


Rotation Programs as Upskilling Strategies

One form of upskilling that is getting new attention is rotation programs, where employees are moved through different jobs or assignments to gain new experience or skills. These programs have a long history in developing new leaders, but can be a valuable learning experience for frontline workers in a time where skills are rapidly changing or becoming obsolete. Read More

From Tuition Reimbursement to Tuition Disbursement: Key Components and Considerations

Changing the way your business manages its tuition assistance program can make it easier for your employees to expand their education and learn new skills to help keep your company competitive. By moving away from a reimbursement model to a disbursement model, businesses can remove one of the primary barriers for many employees who want to pursue a better education. For employers who want to create a learning culture within their company, Upskill America and i4cp developed a guide to walk you through the key steps and decisions needed to make the transition from a tuition reimbursement model to a tuition disbursement model. Read More

Join the Movement

Join the upskilling movement by becoming an UpSkill America Partner.

UpSkill America is an employer-led movement to expand opportunity for America’s workers and help our economy and communities thrive by promoting training and advancement practices to help workers progress in their careers and move into better-paying jobs.


UpSkill America Statement of Principles

UpSkill America and its partners believe:

  • Investing in the skills of workers is good for businesses, employees, communities and the nation.
  • Education, training and development is critical in order for workers to advance in their careers and earn better wages.
  • Upskilling is most effective when employers, workers and education/training providers are all fully committed in partnership to the success of the endeavor.
If you agree with our Statement of Principles (above), join the movement now!

Who We Are

UpSkill America is an employer-led movement to expand economic opportunity for America’s workers.

As the economy continues to improve, many employers are struggling to find skilled workers to fill the jobs they are creating. At the same time, tens of millions of frontline America’s workers in low-wage jobs could be trained to fill more skilled roles but lack a clear career path.

These workers are only half as likely as their higher-skilled colleagues to receive career-relevant training.

We recognize the critical need to help frontline employees—from food service workers to daycare providers, from health care workers to construction laborers—obtain new skills.

We need more American business leaders to invest in effectively upskilling their workers. Leading the way to the middle class for more hardworking Americans is good for business and good for America.

A Three Part Mission


leading employers that provide expanded career opportunities for their workers


the widespread adoption of business policies and practices that increase economic opportunity


public-private education and workforce development efforts that support and advance these initiatives

Leadership Council

A coalition of business, education, workforce training, and human resource organizations lead the effort

National Fund for Workforce Solutions
Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships
Committee for Economic Development
Business Champions
HR Policy Foundation
Small Business Majority

“Today we are partnering with business across the country to UpSkill America. To help workers of all ages earn a shot at better, higher paying jobs even if they don't have a higher education. We want to recruit more companies to help provide apprenticeships and other pathways so people can upgrade their skills. We are all going to have to do that in this new economy.”— Barack Obama

Barack Obama via Flickr