Burgerville University – Building more than Burgers


PORTLAND, Ore. – The choice to pursue higher education can be a very difficult decision for most. For those wanting to continue or pursue a degree after starting a family or career, the decision is even more difficult. The balance between juggling a career, supporting a family and not feeling like a burden to the others in our lives can be overwhelming.

Burgerville’s tuition reimbursement program aims to ease the burdens of continuing higher education by providing financial support to those wanting to pursue or finish their degree programs.  Beth Brewer, Chief of Transformation Learning and Development, looks for ways to provide access and opportunities for education and careers at Burgerville.

“It was always my goal for people to be wildly successful,” say Brewer. She does this by collaborating in the curriculum for the Burgerville Way and looking for ways for people in the Burgerville family to succeed outside of their daily routine.  Brewer says the tuition reimbursement program helps contribute to opportunities outside of the company and adds to the well-rounded education that the Burgerville Way seeks to provide.

Brewer says she understands the difficulties people face when deciding to continue their education and knows people often are often concerned that going back to school will be a burden on their career or family.

For Keith Johnson, assistant manager at Salmon Creek’s Burgerville, wanting to finish his degree was always on his mind.  “I wanted to finish my degree and it was something I wanted to do for a long time,” said Johnson. He tried college briefly, but put it on the back burner when he started a family and his career. For Johnson, continuing education helped him improve his confidence and communication skills and provided him with new ways to be successful at Burgerville.

Abbie Findlay, Burgerville Chief of staff, finished her degree in Business Management to place herself in a position to better serve the company as well as herself.

“I was at a turning point in my career and personal life,” says Findlay. “I really wanted to prove to myself to get a degree and improve my skills.” Findlay wants to better assist the company by being able to talk through important issues and hold conversations at a higher level. She says it was difficult to balance a family, work and school, but through weekend and night classes, she was able to finish her degree. “The skills I learned helped me not only at work, but at home,” said Findlay.

For others, getting started is the most difficult decision. Becky Leroy wanted to continue her degree and felt compelled to finish what she started. She stopped and started school several times and always knew that finishing her degree was something that she wanted to do. As a General Manager at Salmon Creek, Leroy found it difficult to decide to go back to college. For her, the decision to make up her mind and get enrolled was the hardest part.

“College is a young person’s game,” said Leroy. She says that she wasn’t seeking a new career or another company when deciding to back to school, but to prove to herself that she could do it. Leroy says time was an issue but learned quickly that enrolling into college was more time consuming than the classes.

When it comes to getting started, Leroy says, “Just go for it!” She says when you start, it can seem difficult, but at the end of the day it’s all worth it.

The manager’s program offers up to $3500 tuition reimbursement each year in any accredited school.  Those seeking to pursue higher education are encouraged to reach out to Brewer or Burgerville’s CCO Janice Williams to see what options are available. Findlay adds that those interested should take a few classes to better themselves and the company will work with potential students to assist in finding ways that any degree can serve Burgerville.

Johnson agrees that the support structure is designed to assist learning in any environment. “There was not a single person at Burgerville that didn’t support me,” says Johnson. “I always felt supported and I’m very gratified to work for a company that truly cares about human beings and serving them.”

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