Guild Education Powers Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Tuition-Free Education Benefit

Children’s Hospital Colorado is the first pediatric system to offer debt-free learning benefits to employees through a partnership with edtech juggernaut Guild Education. 

Through a partnership with Guild Education, Children’s Hospital Colorado is blazing new trails as the first pediatric health system to provide tuition-free education and upskilling to its staff. The Aurora-based health care network’s benefit pays for classes, books, and other educational materials in more than 75 programs through 25 colleges, online programs, and other education providers. It covers up to $5,250 a year in costs for more than 200 other education programs.

“Here, our team members are our most important asset,” says Betsy Rodriguez, chief human resources officer for Children’s Colorado. “This new benefit is an additional way we’re fulfilling our promise to team members by investing in them and supporting their individual potential. It’s so much more than an education benefit program — it’s a chance for growth, advancement, and discovery for everyone at every level. We aspire to be a place where people can begin a job and are supported to grow a career.”

Children’s Colorado: Investing in Employees’ Futures

Children’s has 1,200 employees in the Colorado Springs-based UCHealth Memorial North campus in Briargate and also two outpatient and specialty clinics. A third outpatient and specialty clinic is expected to open in 2022.

Children’s Colorado’s benefits-eligible team members have access to tuition-free learning through Guild’s platform. Programs include undergraduate and graduate degree options, high school completion, college prep, English language learning, and certificates. Rodriguez says, “This is one more way we are investing in what makes our hospital different for our patients and their families: our people.”

Children’s Hospital Colorado  was founded in 1908. It has been recognized as a top 10 children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report. The health care network offers a wide range of family-centered care at its urgent, emergency, and specialty care locations throughout Colorado. In addition, it has an academic medical center on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora; hospitals in Colorado Springs, Highlands Ranch, and Broomfield; and outreach clinics. 

How Guild Education Empowers Health Care Workers

“All of us at Guild are honored to partner with Children’s Hospital Colorado to help create career advancement for health care workers,” said Rachel Carlson, the CEO of the edtech company, which was recently named to the CNBC Disruptor 2022 list. “As the first pediatric hospital system to offer debt-free education to its team, Children’s Colorado is leading the way and fostering the future workforce of health care providers to care for the children in our Colorado communities. It’s also an honor for those of us at Guild — as a Denver-based company with hundreds of families in town — to have the chance to give back to a hospital that supports us.”

Children’s Colorado employees have the opportunity to customize their education with a range of programs offered via Guild’s learning platform, which include: Colorado State University’s business school, University of Central Florida, Cornell University’s eCornell program, University of Denver, and Oregon State University.

Other companies that work with Guild include Waste Management Inc., Tyson Foods, Taco Bell, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Cincinnati-based Bon Secours Mercy Health, UCHealth, Dollywood Parks and Resorts, Discover Financial Services, PepsiCo, Target, and Chipotle. 

According to Carlson, “We brought tuition reimbursement into the modern era by building a software platform and payments integration with the employers on one side and the universities on the other so that employees no longer have to front the money. That’s so important because the average American has about $400 in liquid assets. So to ask that person to spend $1,000, $3,000, $5,000 on tuition — you’re asking those people to spend their entire emergency savings account just to go back to college for a course or two.”

Employees Embrace Educational Opportunities Provided By Guild Education 

According to Greg Raymond, president of the pediatric health care nonprofit’s southern Colorado operations, nearly 25% of Children’s 7,500 employees have created user accounts to find out more about the benefit through Guild Education. 

“This is a benefit team members asked for in surveys — to be able to grow and develop their careers — and has been several years in the making, since before the [COVID-19] pandemic,” says Raymond. “We recruit nationally and are the first pediatric hospital to offer this benefit. We anticipate it will be a differentiator when competing with other pediatric hospitals for talent.”

Raymond recognizes the benefits of a partnership. “It is tough for front-line employees to afford tuition on the front end, so instead of reimbursement, we pay up front. That opens the door to a whole new group of individuals,” he explains. “Our goal is to grow our own workforce and retain individuals who have professional aspirations. It will allow those in entry-level roles to become nurses, respiratory therapists, or other clinical roles.”

The catalog of programs, made available by Guild Education, is specialized to reflect Children’s Colorado’s mission and vision. It is focused on health care, business, technology, psychology, and hospitality because the health care network believes that Children’s Colorado team members can reach their full potential through education opportunities specially created for working adults.