The CEO of New York-based tech company Boxed is offering an unusual benefit that lets employees know he values their families’ long-term success: free college tuition for their kids.
“We’re building a long-term business and if you are along for the ride, we are going to invest in you,” Chieh Huang told Forbes.
In a world where student debt is soaring for all college grads in the US, this rare company benefit has incredible value.
The decision to provide this benefit is deeply personal for Huang. Born to Taiwanese parents who immigrated to the US and lived modestly, Huang learned the importance of education as a pathway to success. He attended John Hopkins University and Fordham Law School and has achieved great entrepreneurial success with two lucrative companies. He sold his first company, a gaming studio, in 2011.
His current company, Boxed, is an online retailer that Forbes described as the “e-Costco.”
Huang’s philanthropic spirit made him consider the best way to give back to his employees. Most importantly, he wanted to improve their economic mobility. “The core is education,” he told Forbes. And with that he informed Boxed employees that he would cover 100% of the tuition costs for their children’s’ college educations.
In this way, Boxed is highly unique, if not solitary, in its pledge to fully pay for the college tuition for the children of employees.
While colleges sometimes offer tuition assistance for their employees’ children, it’s rare for companies to do so. Even Google — which has famously amazing benefits — doesn’t pay the tuition of its employees’ kids, as Bloomberg has noted.
To be sure, Google reimburses workers for classes so they “never stop learning.” Apple will also reimburse employees for classes they take, and Starbucks recently announced a partnership with Arizona State University that will cover the costs of employees’ online education.
Boxed is different in that its tuition benefit benefits the children of employees and not the workers themselves, showing the company’s commitment to a family’s long-term economic mobility.
“If you are the child of someone who works at Boxed, it’s not the lack of money that is going to prevent you from going to college,” Huang told Forbes.
While he has yet to iron out the details of his plan, Huang told Forbes he intends to create a nonprofit that will own shares of Boxed that are now valued at $US1 million. He says he’s going to front the tuition for now.
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