Thanks to the support of Owner Operators

When Archways to Opportunity launched in 2015, John Blickle from Rubber City McDonald’s in Akron, Ohio, and his son Carl from Zip City Arches were among its first supporters. In fact, the very first Owner Operator McDonald’s restaurant employee who graduated from Career Online High School was celebrated at one of their 24 restaurants in northeast Ohio.

Now as McDonald’s celebrates 1,500 Career Online High School graduates, they again took time to recognize their employee Portia Kelly who earned her high school diploma and a career certificate in home care professional.

John Blickle continues to believe that, “Archways provides a lot of value not only to our organization but to the people who go through the process.”

And he’s right. Students who graduate with a high school diploma earn almost $8,500 more a year, or $250,000 in their lifetime than individuals who do not have a high school diploma.[1]

Additionally, 76% of all Career Online High School graduates pursue or plan to pursue postsecondary education, further increasing their career opportunities and earning potential.

Standing outside store #381, Kelly, a crew trainer who has worked for McDonald’s for two years beams. “I’m most proud to show my diploma to myself, because I did it!”

Kelly plans to continue working at McDonald’s while she pursues a certification in counseling with a goal of becoming a peer recovery coach. “My diploma gets me going in my life and opens more doors for me.”

Counseling was core to Kelly’s success in graduating and she credits her Career Online High School academic coach with keeping her on course. “She encouraged me. She stuck in there with me through the whole thing. She pushed me and made me believe in myself.”

Surrounded by friends, colleagues, and family, Kelly’s daughter sums up the celebration: “I am so proud and so happy to be here with you. This is just the beginning; you have so much more to accomplish.”

[1] 2020 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Current Population Survey