This week in Homebase news, Aramark launches a program to cover the full college tuition for hourly workers, Nevada bans cannabis testing for job applicants, and a group of students works to boost employment among young adults with autism. Read below to find out more on these stories and other happenings involving local businesses and hourly workers.

Aramark to Cover Hourly Workers’ College Tuition

Food service company Aramark recently announced their “Frontline Education Program,” which will provide full tuition coverage for all Aramark hourly employees. While the program currently only covers tuition for Arizona State University, employees living outside of Arizona can still take part by enrolling in one of ASU’s dozens of online undergraduate programs. 

“Our mission to enrich and nourish lives means we have a responsibility to help our employees achieve their full potential and lead fulfilling lives,” Aramark chairman, president and CEO Eric J. Foss said. “Education is key to making that happen and we are proud to provide this learning pathway to our dedicated frontline team members who want to advance their education and grow their careers.”

Report: Small Business Loan Approval Reaches Record High

Big bank approval for small business loan application rose to a record high of 27.6 percent, with small bank approval hitting 50 percent for the first time this year, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index

“Small business lending is thriving this year at big banks, as well as at regional and community banks. Currently, access to capital is quite good for small business owners who are looking to grow their enterprises,” Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora said. “In a strong economy such as this one, entrepreneurs with a solid record of payment are likely to get the financing they need for working capital and future growth needs.”

Amazon Plans to Spend $700M to Teach Employees New Skills

Amazon announced a plan to retrain 100,000 of its U.S. employees (or one-third of its U.S. workforce) by 2025 to help them find new careers or progress into more advanced positions. 

Most of the training will be free and voluntary and will cost Amazon $7,000 per employee, or $700 million total. The program is one of the biggest corporate retraining initiatives ever announced. 

Nevada Bans Cannabis Testing for Job Applicants 

Starting January 2020, Nevada employers will no longer be able to legally reject a job candidate due to a positive test for cannabis use. The move comes after recreational marijiuana was made legal in the state in 2017. 

Nevada is now part of a growing list of jurisdictions that has made it illegal for businesses to not hire someone because of cannabis use. However, employers are still legally allowed to test current employees for cannabis presence and can take disciplinary action over a positive test result. 

Students Aim to Increase Employment of Autistic Young Adults 

Students of MERISTEM, a Sacramento program that helps young adults with developmental difficulties learn how to live independently, developed an employer manual and a series of training sessions during a leadership lab that was held by the state as part of an Autism employment pilot program. 

The 12 students — who together form the Transformational Advocacy Project — partnered with the California Workforce Association to interview employers and gather information for their trainings and manual. 

“We feel that these really small changes to the customary hiring and training process at companies can make a huge difference in getting these successful workers to bring their value to the companies,” TAP program director Valerie Baadh Garrett said. 


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