Chili's Grill & Bar team member Robert Valencia accepted the 2018 National GED Testing Service Award during the Annual Testing Service Conference hosted in San Diego, California.
The National GED Testing Service Award recognizes students who have earned their GED credential in the past year and demonstrated exceptional dedication and achievement throughout the process.
Robert has been a dedicated ChiliHead since 2017 and has dreamed of getting his GED for many years. In Jan. 2018, Robert jumped at the opportunity to apply for the GED pathway through the comprehensive education program, Best You EDU. This first-of-its-kind program launched on Jan. 22, 2018 by Brinker International, Inc. (owner of Chili's and Maggiano's Little Italy) in partnership with Pearson to offer Brinker Team Members, from hourly to management, education opportunities at absolutely no cost to participants.
In only four weeks, Robert quickly earned his GED credentials. From there, he immediately applied for the associate degree program in Best You EDU, was accepted into college and started his first semester in June.
"I am enrolled to start college this summer and I plan on giving it all of my effort to finish top of my class," says Valencia. "I often catch myself telling other team members about the Best You EDU program at work because it has benefited me in more ways than one … a diploma is great, but a GED can do just as much for you. Look at me – I'm starting college already."
Best You EDU was designed to meet team members where they are on their educational journey, offering three main components: Foundational Education and ESL, GED and associate degrees. Robert is proof that a team member can obtain his or her GED and get into college in months versus years with help from his or her employer.
"Robert's story, and countless others like his, is the reason why we developed the Best You EDU program," adds Rick Badgley, chief people officer at Brinker. "We value our Team Members and their professional growth and our goal is to invest in our current Team Members in order to promote from within versus seeking talent elsewhere. Robert's dedication to his professional development and education has paved the way for other Team Members to follow in his footsteps."
Robert is just one of the many Chili's and Maggiano's Team Members who have benefitted from Brinker's Best You EDU program. To date, the program has helped 12 team members graduate with their GEDs and 65 Team Members are actively working toward earning an associate's degree, but Brinker doesn't plan to stop there.
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