By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– The Automobile Club of Southern California today announced the creation of AAA Accelerate, a new educational benefit providing upfront tuition assistance to help employees earn degrees exclusively through Irvine-based Brandman University.
Employee surveys showing high interest levels in growth and development opportunities within the organization were a significant factor leading to AAA Accelerate’s formation.
Geraldine Minor, an Auto Club insurance business development manager, began taking business administration courses online through Brandman earlier in 2019 because of the flexibility in scheduling classes and completing coursework at her own pace.
“I have always loved school and went to college earlier in my life but combined with working three jobs and raising two children, going to classes on campus just didn’t work. I had to drop school and regretted that decision for a very long time,” Minor said. “By being able to complete a degree online, I know I will get my bachelor’s degree. I am even competing with my teenage son and twelve-year-old daughter on who can get the best GPA. Let’s just say I am giving them a run for their money.”
AAA Accelerate will be available to 15,000 employees of Auto Club Enterprises, a group of AAA clubs managed by the Auto Club and serving more than 16 million members in 21 states. More than 8,000 of those employees work and live in Southern California.
“The Auto Club has a long-standing tradition of supporting ongoing career development for employees,” Auto Club president and chief executive John Boyle said. “Through our program with Brandman University, we’re proud to take the next step in supporting employee growth by offering tuition assistance so employees can earn a college degree as part of a rewarding career with the Auto Club.”
The Auto Club selected Brandman because of its multi-pronged approach to education for working adults – on campus, online or a combination of both. Brandman connects working learners with college professors, coaches and academic advisors. Online coaching in math and writing is also available to all students. Brandman is a non-profit, private institution within the Chapman University System with high student completion rates. Brandman also will accept for college credit certain courses an employee completes through the AAA University learning and development program.
Nationwide, 37 percent of college students are age 25 or older – and 40 percent have full-time jobs – according to the Lumina Foundation. Brandman offers flexibility to working students by offering fully-online degree programs, as well as hybrid programs blending online and classroom learning.
“I applaud John Boyle and the Auto Club’s human resources team on the launch of AAA Accelerate,” Brandman Chancellor Gary Brahm said. “Thousands of Auto Club employees are gaining new opportunities to enroll in courses cultivating leadership and communications skills, which impart knowledge that is relevant to today’s business needs.”
AAA Accelerate students will be able to enroll in several bachelor’s programs offered through Brandman’s School of Arts and Sciences and School of Business and Professional Studies. Covered degree programs include communications and media, legal studies, organizational leadership and computing technology.
Participating students may also select Brandman MyPath™ programs leading to either a Bachelor of Business Administration or Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree.
Brandman MyPath™ is a competency-based alternative to traditional credit hour courses, providing students with digital learning tools enabling them to master industry-relevant skill sets at their own pace.
Through AAA Accelerate, the Auto Club and Brandman will provide participating students with financial assistance and scholarships enabling them to enroll in Brandman programs at highly-subsidized rates.
By combining financial assistance with the flexibility of online programs, the Auto Club and Brandman will help adult learners like Minor overcome obstacles.
“Through Brandman, I can contact professors and counselors by email and complete my course work online when I can fit it in my schedule, providing I meet each assignment deadline,” Minor said.
A combined 64 percent of college students consider costs or the challenge of balancing studies with work as their primary obstacles to completing a degree, according to survey data the California Student Aid Commission released in September.
“The Auto Club is among forward-thinking U.S. employers who are taking an active role in guiding employees to degree programs matching working adults’ needs,” Brahm said. “Choosing the right college is difficult under any circumstance. Having a skilled employer by your side to run a cost-benefit analysis on which university is the most likely institution to ensure your success is a priceless opportunity.”