Papa John’s to Pay College Tuition for Its 20,000 Employees

Papa John’s is making a special delivery for its employees: free college tuition.

The Louisville, Kentucky-headquartered pizza chain is offering to pay 100 percent of tuition for undergraduate and graduate online degree programs for its 20,000 employees.

This added benefit could help retain workers at a company still reeling from the revelations last summer that founder John Schnatter reportedly used the N-word during a conference call.

Schnatter resigned as chairman in July and his contract to serve as the company’s main spokesman was canceled. Papa John’s, which has the NFL as a sponsor, also saw sales decline as the league dealt with black players who were protesting police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.

Last week, private equity firm Starboard Value LP agreed to invest $200 million in the pizza chain. Schnatter made a countering bid, which was rejected, and he could take legal action as a result.

The tuition reimbursement program called Dough & Degrees, which is in partnership with Purdue University Global, is part of an attempt to change the narrative for Papa John’s.

“This new tuition benefit program not only provides our team members with a tremendous career growth opportunity, but it gives us a competitive advantage in the marketplace that will make us better as an organization,” said the chain’s chief people officer Marvin Boakye in a statement.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Mike Snider