It’s not very common for companies to offer tuition assistance. Those that do sometimes attach tough conditions: a promise to stay for a certain period of time or pay back the benefit if the employee leaves early. Offering full reimbursement without attaching those kinds of strings is even less common.
At Adobe, full-time, U.S.-based employees receive 100% tuition reimbursement up to US$10,000 per year for eligible business-related courses and certificate programs. Employees in many other locales also get full or partial tuition reimbursement. That means people can get the MBA they’ve always pined for, obtain career-boosting certifications, or study another field related to their careers. And in many cases, it doesn’t have to cost them a dime.
Location: San Jose, California
Studied: Master’s in organizational development
When Antoinette P. was a teenager, she spent a summer working in the fields with her grandfather, a labor contractor, in the 100-degree California Central Valley heat. That experience helped to drive home
a point that her grandfather always impressed upon her: Education is important. Education is the way to choose what you want to do with your life.
Many years later, when Antoinette was years out of high school and hunting for her next job, she let that advice guide her. Working with a placement agency, she made a list of all the companies that offered tuition reimbursement. That led her to Adobe’s front door, literally.
In September 2002, Antoinette walked into the lobby of Adobe’s headquarters and requested to speak with the on-site agency representative. When they met, the representative said there were no openings available at the time. But two weeks later, Antoinette received a call for a one-week assignment. It turned into another assignment and then another. Nine months thereafter, she became a regular Adobe employee.
More than 10 years later, Antoinette received her subsidized master’s degree from the University of San Francisco, she
says she hopes her kids get the message.
“I want to set an example for my children. I want them to see that it’s important to go to college right after high school—which I didn’t do because of various life challenges—but also that it’s never too late,” Antoinette says. “No matter what you tell your kids, they focus on what you do more than on what you say.”
It hasn’t been easy. Antoinette estimates that her schooling took a minimum of 20 hours per week on top of full-time workweeks. But she says she feels school is important and that the sacrifices she has made are worth it. And the fact that Adobe makes it possible for her to pursue her goal of completing her education confirms her thoughts when she walked through the doors more than 10 years ago.
“That’s why people stay so long at Adobe—because it isn’t just about the business. Adobe cares about its employees and has integrity. I couldn’t work for a company that didn’t have those kinds of values.”
Location: London, United Kingdom
Studied: Digital Marketing
In 2010, Cassandra F. signed up for a six-month digital marketing qualification course. It would provide a nice boost to her resume and help to develop her skills. But before she could even start, she received a job offer from Adobe. Cassandra asked whether Adobe would consider paying for her upcoming qualification, and Adobe said yes.
“It showed me that they really wanted me on board,” Cassandra says. For the next six months, she attended class once a month, completed assignments, and took several exams. Each class lasted a full weekday, but her managers were happy to accommodate her time away from the office.
Cassandra says studying for the digital marketing qualification gave her new insight into her job. “I was able to take a step back from my day-to-day routine and look at the bigger picture,” Cassandra relates. “This enabled me to take a more strategic approach to my work and better understand how my role fits into and impacts the wider marketing team.”
Cassandra says one of the things she most appreciates is that Adobe takes career development seriously. Even if it means an occasional day away, a well-trained, fulfilled employee is a happy employee. “It does make me feel quite valued that my employer is willing to help me progress professionally and develop my own career.”