Macy’s Joins the Free Education Bandwagon

Learn how department store retailer Macy’s is furthering a new retail standard as companies compete to attract retail workers.
Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
Jamie goodman
a sign in front of a building
Macy's has already phased in the new minimum wage rate of $15/hour across several markets and will achieve this target nationally by May 2022.

Department store retailer Macy’s is launching a tuition benefit program and raising its company-wide minimum rate to $15 per hour, furthering a new retail standard as companies compete to attract retail workers.

Target and Walmart both announced new plans to pay for associates’ college tuition back in August. Beginning in February 2022, Macy’s said it will provide a debt-free education benefit program to employees, investing approximately $35 million over the next 4 years. The program will be available for all U.S.-based, regular, salaried and hourly colleagues.

The program will cover 100% of tuition, books and fees for a range of options, including courses for high school completion, college prep, English language learning, associate and bachelor’s degrees, bootcamps and professional certificates within Macy’s debt-free network. Macy’s has partnered with education and upskilling platform Guild Education to build the program.

[See more: Workforce Management for Retail Victory]

“As we continue our transformation to be a digitally led omnichannel retailer, a critical component of our growth includes investing in our talent and enhancing all aspects of their Macy’s, Inc. experience with a strong focus on advancement opportunities, culture and engagement,” said Danielle Kirgan, chief transformation and human resources officer at Macy's, Inc. “As a company, we’re driven by our mission to enable our colleagues’ success and be the preferred employer everywhere we do business, with competitive pay and benefits rooted in principles of equity. This program removes a major barrier to accessing education and will help our colleagues to further develop their skills and grow their careers and earning potential.”

Macy’s will also raise the minimum wage rate to $15/hour across all Macy’s locations for both new and current colleagues. The company has already phased in the new rate minimum across several markets and will achieve this target nationally by May 2022. In addition, this past summer the retailer completed pay increases to a $15/hour rate for all distribution center colleagues. Once all these investments are made, average base pay will be above $17/hour and average total pay will be $20/hour.

Additionally, Macy’s is giving corporate and hourly colleagues one additional flexible paid holiday to support their well-being and provide further flexibility to take a day off on a holiday that is most important to them.

[See also: Macy's to Launch Holiday Experiences]

“At Macy’s, Inc., our commitment to culture and employee engagement has never been stronger, and we are energized by a 90% engagement rate in our companywide survey of our more than 100,000-colleague population,” said Kirgan. “By investing in our colleagues’ education and financial well-being, we’re determined to make it possible for them to bring the best of themselves to work every day and to enable them to pursue their own aspirations within and outside of Macy’s, Inc.”

“We are proud that our workforce reflects the diverse communities we serve and continue to focus on embedding D&I into how we think, act, and operate. Earlier this year, we released our Human Capital Report detailing our work and providing transparency for our shareholders, who are paying increasingly more attention to corporate culture. With these new investments today, we are excited to continue building on the strong foundation Macy’s, Inc. has built over the years,” added Kirgan.

Macy’s said it is committed to the principle of equal pay and has achieved greater than 99% pay equity across gender and, in the U.S., across race in 2021. In 2020, Macy’s implemented additional incentives to thank colleagues for their vital work and efforts during immensely difficult circumstances through Path to Growth Incentives, Thank You bonuses and Hero Pay. Macy’s also offers Spot Bonuses year-round for colleagues who go above and beyond.

To learn more about the new debt-free education program, please visit

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