UK: McDonald's dishes up diplomas to go
The headline makes it sound like people are getting diplomas for flipping burgers, but actually three companies including McDonald's will actually be developing their own courses and university admissions-level examinations. Here's another report with more of a view towards the economics of employment.
Another article goes more in depth on how it will actually work (and dutifully reports the new, cringe-worthy monicker, "McQualifications"). McDonald's employees will receive high school credits for their job experience that might help them get into a university. However, McDonald's, Flybe (an airline), and Network Rail (a rail company), are developing educational programs as well - not only training to work as a cabin crewmember or manage one's own fast food restaurant, but also in such things as engineering. It is still uncertain whether universities will accept these credits.
The key term in this program is "social mobility," as used by McDonald's officials in Britain: I think there's the general idea that working at a fast food franchise is as far down the employment ladder as you can go, especially since it's where you start in high school when you have no qualifications and just want some part-time cash. Part-timers of course begin their ascent as soon as the summer's over, or they graduate, or they just find something better. Now hopefully they won't be the only ones with this chance to climb.
Also according to the last article, something not quite like this exists in the US:
In the United States, McDonald's offers courses in restaurant management that can be transferred for credit at traditional colleges and universities through its training facility, Hamburger University. But a spokeswoman for McDonald's USA said there are no current plans to launch a high school-level program like the one in Britain.It seriously is called Hamburger University, by the way. At least it's a step up from McQualifications.