Bright Horizons company offers free teacher degree program: "Who doesn't want free education?"
With graduation season upon us, many graduates may be rethinking their future plans following the pandemic. Some may wonder whether or not it's worth the cost to pursue a college degree.
Early childhood education company Bright Horizons offers graduates or anyone interested in continuing their education another path that's also free.
"Who doesn't want free education?" asked Ruby Saldana, an instructional coach at the Bright Horizons Fitzsimons Early Education Center.
Saldana is among the staff helping little minds grow at the learning center in Aurora. At the same time, she's also earning her own education.
"I knew that I wanted growth and development," she told CBS News Colorado's anchor Kelly Werthmann.
She expresses that she wanted to motivate her children. "I want them to have a mommy they can look up to," Saldana said.
As a Bright Horizons employee, Saldana is taking advantage of its program that allows any full-time employee on staff to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in early childhood education for free.
"They pay for everything," Saldana said. "That includes the tuition, the books."
Saldana jumped into the Horizons Teacher Degree Program when it was first offered in 2018. She is working toward a degree that she once believed wasn't possible for her.
"Financially, I don't think I'd be able to afford it," she said.
Money is often the reason why many people don't pursue post-secondary education. So, if you're thinking this free program is too good to be true, think again.
"We get a lot of people, who interview and say, 'what's the catch?'" Saldana explained. "There is no catch. You just have to be full-time [at Bright Horizons]."
Saldana is very busy being a young mother of two, a full-time employee and student, but she's pursuing her dream degree and encourages anyone who has a goal of becoming an educator to join.
"It's all online so, it's really flexible," Saldana said. "We're a well-rounded company to be able to get people on these paths to success, which is fantastic. Who doesn't want that?"
At a time when Colorado is facing an educator shortage, Saldana believes this program can be a part of the solution. It's a way for Bright Horizons to find long-term employees to help provide quality education for Colorado's youth.
Saldana expects to finish the program and earn her degree next year (after taking a break during the pandemic). She's also inspired at least three of her co-workers at the Fitzsimons location to join the program.
Bright Horizon's Teacher Degree Program: https://bit.ly/3IhdlzW
for more features.