For small and large businesses alike, tuition assistance for employees is an effective recruitment and retention tool. Tuition assistance comes in many forms. Under the Internal Revenue Code, Educational Assistance Plans, Working Condition Fringe Benefits, and Qualified Scholarships also offer employers valuable deductions from gross income. More importantly, they instill loyalty in a company’s workforce, reward valuable employees and contribute to positive employee morale.

Local employers know the value of this employee benefit. From sole proprietorships with small staffs to large concerns such as Jackson Rancheria, Amador County employers have discovered how tuition assistance programs improve employee retention and morale while offering valuable business deductions.

The following testimonies from Jackson Rancheria employees speak to this important tool for employee recruitment and retention. Jackson Rancheria offers employees a choice of two different educational assistance programs—one for courses related to their job and career and a second for education that may be unrelated to job and career. Many Rancheria employees, including those featured below, are using these programs to pursue online college degrees through Amador College Connect.

  • Alisha Powers

    Alisha Powers admits that she had “always talked about going back to school but kept putting it off.” But then “HR sent out information about Amador College Connect and it sparked my interest.” Alisha met with Rachelle Saldate, Office Coordinator at Amador College Connect and identified an online degree program that she wanted to pursue. Alisha is taking one to two classes per term, “I am so grateful that the Tribe is offering this amazing program and that I am able to pursue my schooling, and thankful of Amador College Connect staff for being so nice and helpful.”

  • Ashton and Jesse Grosse

    Ashton Grosse is a working mom who has moved from Food and Beverage to HR during her tenure at the Rancheria. Being in HR is a dream come true for Ashton because it allows her to help people. Through the Rancheria’s educational assistance program, she is taking classes and aiming for an online A.A. degree in Human Resources Management through a program arranged by Amador College Connect. “I can’t thank our Tribe and Amador College Connect enough for this amazing opportunity.”

  • The Rancheria’s Casino Security Shift Manager, Jesse Grosse (and Ashton’s husband), is using his educational assistance to return to school to study management. He explains, “I plan on using my scholarship with the help of Amador College Connect to work towards my Associate Degree in Business Management and further my career at Jackson Rancheria.”
  • Melissa Thomas graduated from high school and went straight into the workforce because she did not then have the financial resources to pursue a college education. Now Lead Revenue Auditor in Jackson Rancheria’s Audit Department, Melissa states, “because of this scholarship program” she now has a chance to go to college. A single mom of two kids, Melissa explains that she now “has a chance to make a better life for my kids.” As for the educational assistance she receives, she tells her employer, “You have a loyal employee for life!”

Amador College Connect stands ready to assist Amador County employers in creating educational assistance programs for their employees. Additionally, Amador College Connect is eager to work with its community college collaborators to design a course of study to improve employee skills, such as the Culinary Arts program launched in August by Columbia College and Jackson Rancheria. “We are about increasing economic opportunities in our county for our residents in a way that serves businesses” states Karen Dickerson, Board Secretary of the Amador Community College Foundation that operates Amador College Connect. Contact Karen Dickerson to discuss how offering an educational assistance program through your business can improve your employee recruitment and retention.