Upstate woman earns diploma through McDonald's 'Archways to Oppo - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate woman earns diploma through McDonald's 'Archways to Opportunity' program

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Alicia Boatwright. (7/17/17 FOX Carolina) Alicia Boatwright. (7/17/17 FOX Carolina)

Many McDonald’s employees are working towards something beyond a paycheck and enrolling in a workforce education program that provides assistance in earning diplomas and college tuition.

The “Archways to Opportunity” program was created so McDonalds employees could attain their dreams without being held back by high costs or lack of access. It’s an investment that's seeing big returns for an Upstate employee at the McDonalds’ on White Horse Road.

“I had graduated from high school and had a certificate, but it was a state test that I missed by a few points so I wasn't able to get an actual diploma,” Alicia Boatwright said. “In my mind I was trying to figure out how I would get an accredited diploma. Would I have to pay for it? Would I have to settle for a GED?”

It didn't take long for McDonald’s management to recognize Boatwright's potential and to recommend the Archway’s program to her.

“I was down on my hands and knees cleaning base boards and her very first day she got in there and was right beside me. So that caught my attention that she was a go-getter,” said manager Kimberly Roder.

For eight months Boatwright balanced work and education online.

“There were times when I was like I don't want to work tonight I just want to go to bed, I had a hard day," Boatwright recalled. "Then there were times I thought ‘get this done.’ It was hard but I had to get this done."

At the completion of the program, McDonalds held a huge ceremony to recognize her achievement – receiving her high school diploma. Boatwright hopes her achievement can spark interest in others at the job to join the program.

Archways to Opportunity launched in April of 2015. In the first year, 5000 employees enrolled. Already in the first six months of this year 10 local employees like Boatwright are benefiting from the program.

Boatwright was even promoted to “crew trainer” following her Archway’s completion. And Boatwright says she’s only going up from there.

“I want to own my own business – that I know. Sometimes I want to go be a chef. Sometimes I want to open my own bakery. There's a lot of things so I’m not rushing as far as going to college but I do want to go.”

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