Chipotle workers can earn a business degree in 18 months in new program

Chipotle restaurant workers in Miami
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Chipotle Mexican Grill's newest education initiative will offer employees the chance to earn a business degree in just 18 months.

The burrito chain said Tuesday that it will begin a customized bachelor's degree program for its workers that combines the credit they have received from previous schools and credits earned through Chipotle's internal training.

"This degree enables our employees to apply what they learn in the classroom to their work at Chipotle and vice versa," Steve Ells, Chipotle's CEO, said in a statement. "Employees will gain a solid understanding of business operations including people development, marketing, and decision making."

The program is available through Bellevue University, a private university, and is an extension of Chipotle's educational assistance program with Guild Education. The company offers more than 30 degrees for its staff to complete as well as tuition assistance.

"The new degree program extends a series of education benefits we've been putting in place over the last couple of years to help better equip our employees for success at Chipotle and beyond," Ells said.

Restaurants have been using tuition assistance programs as a way to recruit workers. For example, Starbucks employees have an opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree with Arizona State University's online program, and McDonald's provides assistance to workers who wish to earn a high school diploma or college degree through its Archways to Opportunity program.