McDonald’s and Walmart Offering Career Online High School to Equip Employees with a High School Diploma and Entry-Level Workforce Certificate for Educational and Professional Advancement

Washington, DC, April 24, 2015– Cengage Learning’s Career Online High School (COHS), part of the Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE) school district, participated today in the White House Upskill America Summit, a gathering of national business and education leaders who are answering President Obama’s call to action to help equip workers of all ages with the skills they need to advance into better-paying jobs. Cengage Learning’s Ron Stefanski participated in the Upskill America Summit as the Obama Administration highlighted two new COHS commitments with McDonald’s Corporation and Walmart Stores Inc., to offer AdvancED/SACS/NCA accredited high school diplomas and entry-level workforce certificate training to all qualified U.S. employees. These partnerships have the potential to change the lives of up to 10,000 front-line workers in the first year.

“We at COHS are excited and honored to support today’s Upskill America Summit at the White House and talk about the part that Cengage Learning’s COHS can play in ‘upskilling’ America’s low-income employees,” stated SHCOE’s CEO & Founder Dr. Howard Liebman. “It’s clear that today’s job market is demanding a higher level of education and skills from employees than ever before and COHS offers an accredited high school diploma and entry-level workforce certificate that can help front-line employees land those higher paying positions.”

During his recent State of the Union address, President Obama launched a new Upskill initiative, calling on businesses to help workers of all ages earn a shot at better, higher-paying jobs, even if they do not have a higher education. The White House Upskill America Summit brings together employers, labor unions, foundations, educators, workforce leaders, non-profits and technologists who are committing to take action in the next year to enable millions more front-line workers to realize their full potential at work and advance into better paying jobs. This is the second time COHS has been invited to the White House in the last 4 months, as Dr. Liebman took part in December’s White House College Opportunity Summit.

“With a shortage of skilled workers for today’s workforce, there is a clear need to change the game for front-line workers with learning and training opportunities leading to marketable and nationally recognized credentials,” said Stefanski. “Through partnerships with visionary companies such as McDonald’s and Walmart, we see great opportunity to impact workers directly.  Innovative education and training can make a profound difference in advancing the Upskill America challenge and lead directly to higher paying jobs.”

McDonald’s Corporation

Through its partnership with Cengage Learning, McDonald’s hopes to reach at least 5,000 employees with a single elective career course, also making this resource available to its franchise stores.  Building on a previous partnership with Cengage Learning that brought these resources to its corporate employees, up to 1,000 McDonald’s employees are expected to complete the elective course and move on to complete the entire Cengage Learning COHS diploma program.

“At McDonald’s, we believe that education is the true game-changer and we’re proud to provide tools and world-class training that help our people succeed,” said Rich Floersch, Executive Vice President of Global Human Resources, McDonald’s Corporation. “As part of our Archways to Opportunity program, we are pleased to be working with Cengage Learning’s Career Online High School to make a high school diploma, as well as a career certificate that provides real world career skills, possible.”

Walmart Stores Inc.

Cengage Learning has also entered into an expanded partnership with Walmart to offer its COHS program for free to all U.S. Walmart associates. This expands upon a pilot this past year where 1,300 associates participated in a first career certificate course. Of those participants, 30 percent successfully completed the course and moved on to enroll in the full high school program. To-date, 85 percent of these associates are on pace to complete their accredited high school credential and career certificate. Walmart’s leading role with this program provides access for thousands of associates to participate in upskilling opportunities.

Brian Poland, Director, Lifelong Learning & Education at Walmart, has been a strategic partner with Cengage Learning’s Career Online High School since 2014 in order to provide upskilling opportunities to their 1.2 million associates nationwide. “After only nine months since program launch, we already have eleven graduates with many more associates nearing program completion,” said Poland.

COHS was developed in 2012 through a partnership by Cengage Learning and Smart Horizons Career Online Education in an effort to provide affordable and accredited, career-based opportunities for the millions of adults in the United States without high school diplomas. COHS serves a number of leading organizations with opportunities for employees and communities, such as Brown Mackie College, Maricopa Community College District, Tarrant County College District, Kinexus, the Workforce Development Council ofSeattle-King County, and other corporations, non-profits and public library systems. To learn more about the COHS program and partnership opportunities, please visit

About Cengage Learning

Cengage Learning is a leading educational content, technology, and services company for the higher education and K-12, professional and library markets worldwide. The company provides superior content, personalized services and course-driven digital solutions that accelerate student engagement and transform the learning experience. Cengage Learning is headquartered in Boston, MA with an office hub located in San Francisco, CA. Cengage Learning employees reside in nearly 40 different countries with company sales in more than 125 countries around the world.