Lifelong Growth Skills Learned at McDonald’s

November 17, 2020

Right now at McDonald’s across the country, restaurant employees are gaining work readiness skills, earning high school diplomas and college degrees, and building careers. They're making their dreams happen, and we’re proud that McDonald’s benefits and resources are here to serve them on their journey.

Here are some of the life-building opportunities McDonald’s restaurant employees can access to progress, wherever it may lead — including skills development, tuition assistance and career advancement.



Restaurant employees at McDonald’s can take multiple paths to develop valuable professional skills useful throughout life. These talents and qualifications are sought after by hiring managers across the nation, especially the work readiness skills most commonly developed through the McDonald’s experience — teamwork, customer service, time management and responsibility.

Beyond on-the-job skills development, over 7,600 restaurant employees have graduated from English Under the Arches®, a free English language course for all non-native English-speaking crew members and managers. We’ve seen these virtual and in-person language classes help restaurant employees take big steps on their professional and personal journeys. One of them is Yenis.

Yenis learned the meaning of the word “commitment” at McDonald’s. Literally. As a teenager, she arrived in the United States from El Salvador knowing only a few basic phrases in English, like “good morning,” “good afternoon” and “thank you.” Later, she began supplementing her knowledge of the language working at McDonald’s, both informally on the job as she worked her way to the cash register position from the kitchen, and formally through the English Under the Arches® program. The class sped up Yenis’s fluency in English, giving her the confidence to take on responsibilities that required speaking with customers and vendors. Yenis’s Owner/Operator acknowledged her work ethic, talent and growth, promoting her multiple times. Today, she is 24 years old and the training manager of 19 restaurants, which allows her to speak to people all day—in both languages!


Since 2015, more than 60,000 members of our McFamily have accessed education through Archways to Opportunity®, a comprehensive education system that aides crew members and manager’s pursuit of a high school diploma, a college degree and additional counseling to help them make choices on their career path. McDonald’s is investing in restaurant employees’ secondary and higher education goals because it matters to them. If it matters to them, it matters to McDonald’s.

The cost of higher education can be intimidating and prohibitive for many and we’re proud of the over 45,000 restaurant employees who have taken advantage of nearly $125 million in tuition assistance from Archways to Opportunity®. Twins Jaelyn and Jocelyn are two of them.

In their Junior year of high school, the sisters submitted job application after job application, finally taking up their mom’s advice to have a second look at McDonald’s. Jocelyn applied first, Jaelyn afterward. Both were hired right away by the restaurant’s General Manager. Two years later when they began at a four-year university, their Manager told them about college tuition assistance offered through Archways to Opportunity® and urged them to apply.

Today, both are on the verge of graduating — Jocelyn with a degree in psychology, Jaelyn with a degree in criminal justice. Next year, they both want to attend graduate school in their respective fields.

Career Advancement

Restaurant employees can take a variety of paths and use multiple tools to advance their professional journey, including within McDonald’s. Simply put, it can be so much more than just a job. It can be a career.

Hamburger University® exists to nurture restaurant employees who carry these higher aspirations while also helping to build their potential and capacity for leadership. As the official training program for McDonald’s, current or future managers, Owner/Operators, and corporate leadership earn a degree after five intensive days taking courses on management, leadership and company culture.

Some crew members, like Yenis, choose to climb through the restaurant ranks, advancing into management. Some even become McDonald’s Owner/Operators.

Other crew members take an alternative path to advancement, leveraging their restaurant experience to grow into a corporate role. Ron is one of them.

Ron became a crew member at McDonald’s in Patterson, CA as a way to pay for college. After five years of persistence at work and school, along with the support of college tuition assistance through Archways to Opportunity®, he earned a degree in microbiology from California State University Stanislaus. He found a job in a laboratory, but his Owner/Operator, who valued Ron’s leadership, asked him to stay on one day a week, which he did. This turned out to be fortuitous decision. Through his determination and support from his Owner/Operator, Ron landed a job at corporate headquarters as an Operations Associate.

Today, Ron and his wife Rachel, whom he met while working as a crew member at McDonald’s, just welcomed their second child, Noah. “Not only has McDonald’s gotten me to the corporate level, but it has helped me better provide for my family.”

The stories of Yenis, Jocelyn, Jaelyn and Ron are inspiring examples of what restaurant employees can do when they take advantage of the tools and opportunities available at McDonald’s — skills development, educational attainment, or career advancement. These programs and opportunities happen here at McDonald’s because they matter to our restaurant employees.

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