BASEMENT WATERPROOFING IN Sea Girt

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Basement Waterproofing

The Healthy Way

Unlike other waterproofers in New Jersey, we provide our customers with a streamlined process for all of their waterproofing needs. Our goal is to get to the crux of your home's issues. If we spot signs of water in your basement, we go right to the source of the problem, working hard to fix structural deficiencies to prevent problems like mold growth and foundation damage. We are proud to be New Jersey's one-stop shop for all of your basement waterproofing needs. New Jersey homeowners choose Healthy Way because our experts are friendly, experienced, harworking, and fully certified. We won't rest until your waterproofing problems are solved. Because we specialize in both interior and exterior waterproofing services, you won't have to worry about hiring a laundry list of contractors to correct your moisture problems. Healthy Way provides all-inclusive basement waterproofing in Sea Girt, it's no surprise that New Jersey residents trust Healthy Way to make their homes more livable every day.

Service Areas

The Healthy Way Difference

At Healthy Way, we strive to set ourselves apart from the competition by offering the best basement waterproofing services in New Jersey. We won't be happy with our work until you are 100% satisfied, whether you need a thorough moisture inspection or a large-scale waterproofing project. Our basement waterproofing experts are certified, trained, and have worked on more than 4,000 repairs. They understand that your moisture problems aren't like anybody else's, which is why all of our waterproofing proposals are created specifically for your home. You won't find any "one-size-fits-all" solutions here, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

  • Best warranties in the industry
  • Free initial inspection
  • Full-service basement waterproofing
  • Mold remediation
  • Foundation repair
  • Water management solutions tailored to your unique situation

Once your basement waterproofing project is complete, we make it a point to keep our staff available to address any questions or concerns you may have. Our goal is your 100% satisfaction, from the moment you call our office to schedule an inspection to the time you sign off on our work.

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Waterproofing Services in New Jersey

With more than two decades of experience and a team of fully certified and trained waterproofing professionals, there is no waterproofing project in New Jersey that we can't handle. When not addressed, water and moisture problems can cause serious health risks for your family. We're talking buckling walls, sinking foundations, and even toxic mold. With your home's value and your family's health on the line, you must attack these problems head-on, and the best way to do that is by bringing in the Healthy Way team. Some signs of existing water problems in your home can include:

  • Signs of rust or oxidation on metal fixtures
  • Mildew residue
  • Water stains on your foundation's walls and floors
  • Erosion of your concrete
  • Mineral deposits found on pipes
  • Flooded landscaping after heavy rain or snow
  • Pooling water around your foundation's interior
  • Humidity levels above 60% in your basement or crawlspace
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 Basement Leak Repair Sea Girt, NJ
 Waterproof Basement Sea Girt, NJ

Basement Waterproofing in Sea Girt

Healthy Way has been providing the most trusted, effective basement waterproofing in New Jersey since 2007. Waterproofing your basement is crucial to protecting the value of your home and the safety of your family. That is why we only employ the best, brightest, fully-certified experts, who will treat your home like it was their very own. Taking shortcuts just isn't in our nature. We use innovative technology and time-tested techniques to discover and solve your basement's water-related problems.

Because basement wall leaks and water seepage are often caused by structural issues, external waterproofing is required. While some companies only seal the interior walls of your basement, Healthy Way goes the extra mile to fix your water issues inside and out. That way, your basement leaks stop for good.

Once we find the root of the water issues in your basement, we will get to work on a custom-designed solution that will exceed your basement waterproofing needs.

Our basement waterproofing services in New Jersey help prevent the following problems:

  • Mold growth, which can cause serious health hazards for your family
  • Basement flooding
  • Loss of valuables
  • Serious water damage to your home's walls and floors
  • Decrease in home value

Don't wait to address the moisture developing in your basement - call Healthy Way today for a customized solution to your water seepage problems.

What Causes Moisture in Your Basement?

It's easy to spot water leaking through a crack in your basement, but most homeowners don't know that there is a potential for water issues without heavy rains or obvious signs of standing water. At Healthy Way, we try to educate our clients on the real causes of water in your basement. Here are two of the most common reasons why you might need basement waterproofing in Sea Girt:

Clay Bowl Effect

The "Clay Bowl" Effect

It might not be evident on the surface, but many basements are built in a below-grade dip, which is surrounded by backfill. Because backfill is made up of soil that was removed during foundation digging, it creates an empty shape or "bowl" effect. Once the foundation is finished, this loose soil is placed back around the foundation. Unfortunately, soil of this consistency is more absorbent and porous than the undisturbed soil around it, which is hard-packed and less porous. When rain or thunderstorms occurs, the soil closest to your home becomes saturated, putting pressure on your basement walls.

Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic Pressure:

This kind of pressure affects homeowners with property built below the water table or on a hillside where water runs down a hill. When the soil around your foundation becomes saturated, it will expand and put intense pressure on the walls of your foundation and basement. This pressure can create cracks, giving water an easy route into your basement.

How Healthy Way Solves Your Basement Waterproofing Needs

Having a wet basement not only puts your health at risk, it lowers the value of your home and makes it more difficult to sell. The good news? We offer a number of waterproofing services and products to solve your problems fast. A few of our solutions include:

  • Sump pumps
  • Perimeter drainage systems
  • Doorway drainage systems
  • High-strength washer hoses
  • Floor and wall crack repair
  • Replacement windows
  • Flood protection for your water heater

When you use Healthy Way for basement waterproofing in New Jersey, you can rest easy knowing that all our systems come with a written, lifetime warranty. This warranty is transferrable, meaning you can re-establish your home's value and give future owners confidence knowing that their new home is protected.

The Healthy Way Basement Waterproofing Process

Because every home is different, your basement waterproofing solution could be vastly different than that of your next-door neighbor. Many factors play a part when it comes to keeping your basement dry and safe for living. As a general rule, we approach each issue with a "prevention over repair" mindset. By taking this stance, we give our clients a more cost-effective, long-term resolution. We're not in the business of putting a "Band-Aid" on your water problem - we want to fix your issue completely, so you don't have to worry about recurring problems. Our effective basement waterproofing systems include a mix of the following strategies:

Interior Waterproofing

Interior Waterproofing

Interior waterproofing methods usually start with our team ensuring that any holes or cracks in your basement floors, walls, and windows are sealed properly. Sealing cracks in your basement is an important first step since this is usually the first place where water can enter your home. Our sealants keep your basement dry and help prevent more moisture from finding its way into your home. Interior waterproofing strategies like these also help lower humidity levels in your basement. While sealants and other interior waterproofing strategies help correct initial issues, they don't usually solve the underlying problem causing leaks in your basement. Those issues are most often found outside your home.

Exterior Waterproofing

Exterior Waterproofing

Once our team is finished with your interior waterproofing, we will move to the exterior of your home. Waterproofing the outside of your home is often a more complex, nuanced goal. Because of the difficult nature of exterior waterproofing, we recommend you consult with our team of professionals before tackling the job on your own. Generally speaking, our team beings the outdoor waterproofing process by excavating the soil around your home's foundation. Once we remove the soil surrounding your foundation, our experts will apply a polymer-based sealant to any cracks we discover. This sealant is a long-term solution and should remain intact for the life of your home. While the Healthy Way team solves your outdoor moisture problems, we will also check your downspouts, to make sure they aren't clogged. An inefficient gutter system does a poor job of directing water away from your home's foundation, which can cause more moisture to seep into your basement over time.

Exterior Waterproofing

Drainage Systems

One of the most common reasons that people need basement waterproofing in cityname is because they have a poor drainage system. A proper drainage system is paramount in keeping your basement dry and your family safe. These systems are meant to direct water away from your home and come in many forms, from French Drains to simple systems like ground soil. If you're thinking of installing a complex drainage system, save yourself some time and check the soil around your foundation first to make sure it isn't retaining moisture. If a more complex system like a sump pump is required, it's best to work with certified professionals like those at Healthy Way, to make sure your drainage system is installed correctly.

WHICH WATERPROOFING SOLUTION IS RIGHT FOR ME?

Because every home is different, it's hard to say what kind of waterproofing solution is right for your situation. Most homeowners require a combination of interior and exterior waterproofing. There are dozens of factors that come into play when it comes to waterproofing your home, so the answer to your problem may be different than your neighbor's. The good news is that Healthy Way is fully equipped to handle whatever moisture issue you're having. We will work tirelessly to make certain your basement is dry, mold-free, and safe to enjoy. That way, you can get back to living life rather than worrying about mold growth or foundation damage.

Contact Us

GET IT DONE RIGHT, THE FIRST TIME

Other companies may offer temporary or partial solutions. At Healthy Way, we believe in correcting the problem completely, so you save money and have long-term peace of mind. Our goal is to fix your problem to prevent it from coming back, or we won't do the work!

If you require quality basement waterproofing, it all starts with a FREE inspection from our certified waterproofing experts. We will take as much time as you need to find your problem, develop a solution, and walk you through our process step-by-step.

Don't let water leaks and foundation damage create a dangerous environment in your home; contact the experts at Healthy Way today!

 Basement Waterproofing Sea Girt, NJ

Latest News in Sea Girt, NJ

Tour leak: Bruce Springsteen, E Street tickets for MetLife show auctioned for charity

If you're a Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band fan, keep Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, 2023, free on your calendar.Tickets for a Springsteen and the E Street Band concert, with backstage passes, for one of those two dates were auctioned off Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Visiting Nurse Association Be...

If you're a Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band fan, keep Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, 2023, free on your calendar.

Tickets for a Springsteen and the E Street Band concert, with backstage passes, for one of those two dates were auctioned off Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Visiting Nurse Association Beach Ball at the Chapel Beach Club in Sea Bright.

A MetLife show has not been announced, but it is anticipated as a second North American tour leg was cited as starting in August 2023 after arena shows in the United States and stadium shows in Europe.

“Honestly, I expected those dates to be out by now, but obviously they're narrowing it down,” said Audrey Hunn of the Calling All Bruce Springsteen Fans! Facebook page. Hunn posted the auction link on the Calling page. The MetLife tickets auction was in person only on Saturday.

The ticket package was donated by “The Springsteen Family.” A “Dinner by Bruce Springsteen's Private Chef,” Jacob Varela, was also auctioned off.

The onsale for the band’s U.S. arena tour drew headlines as some fans were upset that a portion of tickets were sold in the $5,000 range due to dynamic pricing, which adjusts prices according to supply and demand.

“In the big picture I'm really over this already because let's move on,” Hunn said. “I wasn't thrilled, but I decided I wasn't going to as many as I thought and they were becoming more in line with the bigger name shows. He has been keeping the prices down for a really long time, so I resigned myself to that.”

Springsteen, and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, publicly thanked the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey when the group announced that it would provide health services for uninsured or underinsured Jersey Shore musicians and artists during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2021.

The Visiting Nurse Association Central Jersey Community Health Centers provides primary healthcare for individuals and families at its four centers in Asbury Park, Freehold, Keyport and Red Bank, serving “without discrimination and regardless of the patient’s ability to pay,” according to the group.

Subscribe to app.com for the latest on Bruce Springsteen and the New Jersey music scene.

Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers music and entertainment for the USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; [email protected]

The best-dressed paperboy ever runs Northshore Sea Bright clothing store

Special to the Asbury Park PressSEA BRIGHT - Even as a kid, Sayreville native Brian George loved putting classic outfits together and looking tailored.And since 1982, he’s been bringing that expertise to others through Northshore Sea Bright, his Sea Bright-based shop featuring fine tailored men’s clothing, sportswear and accessories.“Growing up, my mother worked at JC Penney in ...

Special to the Asbury Park Press

SEA BRIGHT - Even as a kid, Sayreville native Brian George loved putting classic outfits together and looking tailored.

And since 1982, he’s been bringing that expertise to others through Northshore Sea Bright, his Sea Bright-based shop featuring fine tailored men’s clothing, sportswear and accessories.

“Growing up, my mother worked at JC Penney in Sayreville and by the time I was 12, I was a clothes horse,” recalled George, 73, a longtime Rumson resident who now lives in Little Silver. “I remember saving up money from my paper route and going shopping at a men’s store named Roy’s in Perth Amboy. The clothes represented classic tradition to me and although I didn’t come from money, I wanted to look successful and different, not like everybody else.”

After graduating from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, with a degree in history, George landed a job at J.P. Stevens Textile Corp., which was then the second-largest textile company in the industry (behind Burlington Industries).

“I was transferred to St. Louis, and then a few years later I was offered the opportunity to return to New York City and work for Burlington Industries, where I sold fabric to companies like Levi Strauss, Jones New York, Evan Picone and Hart Schaffner & Marx,” he said. “I was selling fabrics to some of the industry’s biggest customers at a young age.”

Following a transfer to Chicago, “I returned back to the New York City area at 28 and started an executive search firm specializing in the apparel industry,” he said. “I was successful, but I realized that being a merchant was in my blood.”

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And George opted to honor that passion.

“In 1982, a business partner and I started a company in Rumson that featured specialized beach chairs, beach bags and wind screens; I named the company Northshore Sport Tech because I’d lived on the North Shore of Chicago and we were on the north part of the Jersey shore, so I thought it worked,” George said. “As part of the company, I contacted a bunch of apparel manufacturers I’d previously worked with and created our Northshore Sportables line of sportswear.

“We offered beachy stuff and menswear, women’s wear and dry goods like beach towels and blankets and ended up with a lot of products left over at the end of that season, so we decided to have a tent sale in Rumson,” George said. “We made over $10,000 in two weekends and everyone told us that our products would make a great store, so we bought a building on River Road in Rumson, established a store, and were there for the next 20 years.”

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Though George bought his partner out after a year and the business relocated several times in the last two decades, it’s thrived for 40 years.

“In 2002, we moved from Rumson to a space in Sea Bright that was formerly occupied by an ice cream shop and changed our name to Northshore Sea Bright, then moved to former pharmacy space nearby,” said George, who noted that business was strong.

After superstorm Sandy hit, however, “we ended up with eight feet of water in the store and the building was condemned, so, since 2013, we’ve been located in a classic colonial building in Sea Bright that’s very beachy and we love it.”

While the cozy 1,400-square-foot shop previously carried men’s, women’s and boy’s wear, “we recently got out of the women’s wear business and now focus exclusively on outfitting men and boys,” George said.

“We sell tailored clothing, including suits, sport coats, formal wear, shirts, neckwear, socks, shoes, belts and sportswear (such as outerwear, slacks, sweaters, and sport shirts) by premium apparel brands such as Peter Millar, Scott Barber, Johnnie-O, Southern Tide, and Turtleson and also offer shoes from Alden, Peter Millar, and Johnnie-O as well as our own private-label shoes,” he said.

“At Northshore, we respect the traditions, but with a fresh twist,” George said of the store’s personality. “Today, men are going back to the office but want the comfort of the sweats and casual clothes they enjoyed while working at home during the pandemic, so comfort is the name of the game in menswear,” he said of the current trend.

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“As a result, customers love such products of ours as trousers, slacks and modern five-pocket pants made of fabrics that stretch as well as performance-knit shirts and even casual shoes that are made of fabric that you slide right into,” George said.

“Because we’re at the Shore, color is also very important to our store. We want to be different but not over the top,” he added, noting that royal blue is currently in hot demand. “Layering and mixing and matching different colors and textures is also very popular and helps create a clean, traditional look — or as we say, ‘classic with a kick.’”

While George acknowledged that “we’re not cheap, nor is our merchandise,” he said that “our quality is the best, and even if we sell a hand-tailored sport jacket for $895, the same jacket might cost $1,500 in New York City or elsewhere. We’re all about merchandising and personalized customer service and will provide customers a discount if they buy an entire outfit,” he said.

“We offer everything — from apparel and furnishings to shoes to tailoring — and are dedicated to making things easy for customers by being a one-stop shop,” he said.

According to George, Northshore Sea Bright customers are mostly professionals who come from as close as Sea Bright and as far away as Colts Neck, Middletown and Spring Lake.

“This is a tough industry and there are fewer than a dozen stores like ours left in New Jersey today,” he said. “But our customers appreciate quality and I enjoy helping them by explaining the value behind the garment and how and where to wear each piece. We love educating them on how to be comfortable while still being crisp, clean and professional.”

“An organized appearance reflects an organized mind and when people see you for the first time and you’re dressed professionally, it’s a show of respect and that you have your act together,” George said of the importance of quality haberdashery. “People like to associate with successful people, so we try to project success.”

Unlike many other businesses, George hasn’t faced challenges sourcing products during the pandemic. "We have great relationships with our vendors and our store is packed with inventory,” he said.

But he jokingly laments not being able to do everything his younger self could. “I’m 73 now and just had a knee replacement. I need a day off!” he laughed, noting that the store recently cut back its hours by closing on Sundays.

Supported by three seasoned associates, “Northshore Sea Bright promotes itself as ‘quality goods sold by courteous professionals at a fair price’ and we’re proud to be part of this community,” George said. “I’ve known our customers and their families for decades; some kids got their first blazer here at 6 years old and are now all grown up and starting their own careers. It’s a nice feeling to serve multiple generations.”

George credits his store’s four decades of success to his wonderful customers and also to his own creativity.

“I love putting together a line to make it a concept,” he said. “We don’t just sell clothes — we sell a laid-back, casual-chic lifestyle and the pieces all work together to help you carve out your own identity. We’re the threads of the Jersey Shore.”

Location: 1127 Ocean Ave., Sea Bright

Phone: 732-842-9909

Owner: Brian George

Founded: 1982

Website: northshoreseabright.com

Companies lure hourly workers with college tuition perks

By Dee-Ann Durbin and Anne D’Innocenzio | Associated PressNEW YORK — When Daniella Malave started working for Chipotle at 17, the main benefit she was seeking was free food. As it turned out, she also got a free college education.While working full time for the chain, Malave completed two years of community college with annual stipends of $5,250 from Chipotle. After that, she enrolled in the company’s free online college program, through which she earned a bachelor’s degree in business m...

By Dee-Ann Durbin and Anne D’Innocenzio | Associated Press

NEW YORK — When Daniella Malave started working for Chipotle at 17, the main benefit she was seeking was free food. As it turned out, she also got a free college education.

While working full time for the chain, Malave completed two years of community college with annual stipends of $5,250 from Chipotle. After that, she enrolled in the company’s free online college program, through which she earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Wilmington University in 2020.

“I didn’t have to pay for my education,” said Malave, 24, who now works as a recruiting analyst for Chipotle in New Jersey. “Every time I say it out loud, I’m like, ‘Is this real?'”

Chipotle is one of more than a dozen companies that have launched free or almost-free college programs for their front-line workers over the last decade. Since 2021 alone, Walmart, Amazon, Target, Macy’s, Citi and Lowe’s have made free college available to more than 3 million U.S. workers.

Companies see the programs as a way to recruit and retain workers in a tight labor market or train them for management positions. For hourly employees, the programs remove the financial barriers of obtaining a degree.

Thousands of people are now taking advantage of the benefits. Starbucks, which operates an online college program through Arizona State University, says 22,000 workers are currently enrolled in its program. Guild Education, which administers programs for Walmart, Hilton, Disney and others and offers online programs at more than 140 schools, says it worked with 130,000 students over the last year.

But some critics question whether the programs are papering over deeper problems, like pay so low that workers can’t afford college without them or hours so erratic that it’s too hard to go to school in person.

“I do think they are providing these programs to skirt around the issue of just paying people more, giving people more certainty, improving their quality of life,” said Stephanie Hall, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank.

Hall said a lack of data also makes it difficult to judge the programs’ effectiveness. Chipotle, Walmart, Amazon and Starbucks, for example, don’t share graduation rates, in part because they’re hard to calculate because students often take a semester off or take more than four years to earn a degree. Rachel Carlson, CEO for Guild Education, which also doesn’t reveal graduation rates, says the more relevant data is whether college classes help employees get promotions or wage increases.

Others question the quality of the online programs and whether students’ degrees will be marketable or help them pursue other careers, especially since many companies limit what employees can study. Discover only fully funds 18 bachelor’s degrees at eight universities through Guild, for example.

“My sense is that most of these programs are hoping that employees would stay with the company,” said Katharine Meyer, a fellow in the governance studies program for the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Amazon for its part touts college programs that offer opportunities outside the company, like nursing. But Walmart pared down the number of programs it offers to 60 from 100 because it wanted to focus on skills that would align with careers at the company.

More than 89,000 workers have participated in Walmart’s college program and more than 15,000 have graduated, said Lorraine Stomski, Walmart’s senior vice president of associate learning and leadership.

Tanner Humphreys is one of them. He started working at Walmart in 2016, bouncing around hourly jobs as he tried to accommodate his in-person class schedule at Idaho State University. But under the company’s online program, which it launched with Guild in 2018, he transferred his credits to Southern New Hampshire University and graduated in February with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. At 27, he now works at Walmart’s headquarters for its cybersecurity team as a salaried employee.

“I was working paycheck to paycheck, living with a whole bunch of friends to pay my rent and stuff,” he said. “The change from an hourly to salary is truly life-changing.”

Companies paying for college or graduate school isn’t new. But for decades, the benefit was mostly offered to salaried professionals. In many cases, workers were required to spend thousands of dollars for tuition up front and then get reimbursed by their company.

Starbucks’ program, which launched in 2014, was initially a tuition-reimbursement program, but in 2021, it began covering tuition costs upfront. Now, 85% of the company’s stores have at least one employee in the program, which will celebrate its 10,000th graduate in December.

Carlson said companies see an average return of $2 to $3 for every dollar they put into education because it saves recruitment and retention costs. Walmart said participants leave the company at a rate four times lower than non-participants and are twice as likely to be promoted.

“If I know it’s going to cost me $7,000 to have my cashier not show up tomorrow, I would rather spend our average of our partners today — $3,000 to $5000 — paying for her to go to college,” Carlson said.

Companies say the programs also give opportunities to minorities. Macy’s, which started its program with Guild earlier this year, said that half of the women enrolling are women of color.

Some companies, like Chipotle and JPMorgan Chase, offer online programs through Guild as well as stipends students can put toward in-person learning at local institutions. Amazon’s college programs offer a mixture of online and in-person learning at local community colleges or universities.

Hall said she would like to see more companies offer that kind of flexibility, since online learning isn’t ideal for everyone.

Zachary Hecker, 26, a Starbucks employee in New Braunfels, Texas, began working toward his bachelor’s in electrical engineering last summer through the company’s college program.

Hecker appreciates the free tuition, but he often wishes he could attend classes in person or have more choices beyond Arizona State. His classes are challenging, he said, and professors aren’t always able to meet and offer guidance.

But Carlson said online classes are ideal for the average Guild enrollee, who is a 33-year-old woman with children. Carlson said students in its programs often lack consistent access to a car and need to be able to study anytime, like after kids are in bed.

The chance to earn a free degree can be life-changing. Angela Batista was 16 and homeless when she started working for a Starbucks in New York.

“College was never in my dream,” Batista said, now 38. “I didn’t even have the audacity to fantasize about it.”

This December, she will graduate from Arizona State University with a degree in organizational leadership paid for by Starbucks. And now her son, who also works at Starbucks, is starting work toward his own degree.

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Some companies try to lure hourly workers with college tuition perks

NEW YORK — When Daniella Malave started working for Chipotle at 17, the main benefit she was seeking was free food. As it turned out, she also got a free college education.While working full time for the chain, Malave completed two years of community college with annual stipends of $5,250 from Chipotle. After that, she enrolled in the company’s free online college program, through which she earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Wilmington University in 2020.“I didn’t have to pay fo...

NEW YORK — When Daniella Malave started working for Chipotle at 17, the main benefit she was seeking was free food. As it turned out, she also got a free college education.

While working full time for the chain, Malave completed two years of community college with annual stipends of $5,250 from Chipotle. After that, she enrolled in the company’s free online college program, through which she earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Wilmington University in 2020.

“I didn’t have to pay for my education,” said Malave, 24, who now works as a recruiting analyst for Chipotle in New Jersey. “Every time I say it out loud, I’m like, ‘Is this real?’”

Chipotle is one of more than a dozen companies that have launched free or almost-free college programs for their front-line workers over the last decade. Since 2021 alone, Walmart, Amazon, Target, Macy’s, Citi and Lowe’s have made free college available to more than 3 million U.S. workers.

Companies see the programs as a way to recruit and retain workers in a tight labor market or train them for management positions. For hourly employees, the programs remove the financial barriers of obtaining a degree.

Thousands of people are now taking advantage of the benefits. Starbucks, which operates an online college program through Arizona State University, says 22,000 workers are currently enrolled in its program. Guild Education, which administers programs for Walmart, Hilton, Disney and others and offers online programs at more than 140 schools, says it worked with 130,000 students over the last year.

But some critics question whether the programs are papering over deeper problems, like pay so low that workers can’t afford college without them or hours so erratic that it’s too hard to go to school in person.

“I do think they are providing these programs to skirt around the issue of just paying people more, giving people more certainty, improving their quality of life,” said Stephanie Hall, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank.

Hall said a lack of data also makes it difficult to judge the programs’ effectiveness. Chipotle, Walmart, Amazon and Starbucks, for example, don’t share graduation rates, in part because they’re hard to calculate because students often take a semester off or take more than four years to earn a degree. Rachel Carlson, CEO for Guild Education, which also doesn’t reveal graduation rates, says the more relevant data is whether college classes help employees get promotions or wage increases.

Others question the quality of the online programs and whether students’ degrees will be marketable or help them pursue other careers, especially since many companies limit what employees can study. Discover only fully funds 18 bachelor’s degrees at eight universities through Guild, for example.

“My sense is that most of these programs are hoping that employees would stay with the company,” said Katharine Meyer, a fellow in the governance studies program for the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Amazon for its part touts college programs that offer opportunities outside the company, like nursing. But Walmart pared down the number of programs it offers to 60 from 100 because it wanted to focus on skills that would align with careers at the company.

More than 89,000 workers have participated in Walmart’s college program and more than 15,000 have graduated, said Lorraine Stomski, Walmart’s senior vice president of associate learning and leadership.

Tanner Humphreys is one of them. He started working at Walmart in 2016, bouncing around hourly jobs as he tried to accommodate his in-person class schedule at Idaho State University. But under the company’s online program, which it launched with Guild in 2018, he transferred his credits to Southern New Hampshire University and graduated in February with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. At 27, he now works at Walmart’s headquarters for its cybersecurity team as a salaried employee.

“I was working paycheck to paycheck, living with a whole bunch of friends to pay my rent and stuff,” he said. “The change from an hourly to salary is truly life changing.”

Companies paying for college or graduate school isn’t new. But for decades, the benefit was mostly offered to salaried professionals. In many cases, workers were required to spend thousands of dollars for tuition up front and then get reimbursed by their company.

Starbucks’ program, which launched in 2014, was initially a tuition-reimbursement program, but in 2021, it began covering tuition costs upfront. Now, 85% of the company’s stores have at least one employee in the program, which will celebrate its 10,000th graduate in December.

Carlson said companies see an average return of $2 to $3 for every dollar they put into education because it saves recruitment and retention costs.

Walmart said participants leave the company at a rate four times lower than non-participants and are twice as likely to be promoted.

“If I know it’s going to cost me $7,000 to have my cashier not show up tomorrow, I would rather spend our average of our partners today — $3,000 to $5000 — paying for her to go to college,” Carlson said.

Companies say the programs also give opportunities to minorities. Macy’s, which started its program with Guild earlier this year, said that half of the women enrolling are women of color.

Some companies, like Chipotle and JPMorgan Chase, offer online programs through Guild as well as stipends students can put toward in-person learning at local institutions. Amazon’s college programs offer a mixture of online and in-person learning at local community colleges or universities.

Hall said she would like to see more companies offer that kind of flexibility, since online learning isn’t ideal for everyone.

Zachary Hecker, 26, a Starbucks employee in New Braunfels, Texas, began working toward his bachelor’s in electrical engineering last summer through the company’s college program.

Hecker appreciates the free tuition, but he often wishes he could attend classes in person or have more choices beyond Arizona State. His classes are challenging, he said, and professors aren’t always able to meet and offer guidance.

But Carlson said online classes are ideal for the average Guild enrollee, who is a 33-year-old woman with children. Carlson said students in its programs often lack consistent access to a car and need to be able to study anytime, like after kids are in bed.

The chance to earn a free degree can be life-changing. Angela Batista was 16 and homeless when she started working for a Starbucks in New York.

“College was never in my dream,” Batista said, now 38. “I didn’t even have the audacity to fantasize about it.”

This December, she will graduate from Arizona State University with a degree in organizational leadership paid for by Starbucks. And now her son, who also works at Starbucks, is starting work toward his own degree.

Sea Girt groups wants woods, not paddleball court, to remain at Crescent Park

SEA GIRT — A plan by the Sea Girt council to build a second paddleball court in a small park is facing pushback from some neighbors, who say the park harms critical animal habitat.In August, citing rising demand for additional court space, the Borough Council passed a resolution to erect a second paddleball court and viewing area at the north end of Cornelius Park, which is known locally as Crescent Park due to its shape.It would be the fourth court at the park, which also has an existing paddleball court a...

SEA GIRT — A plan by the Sea Girt council to build a second paddleball court in a small park is facing pushback from some neighbors, who say the park harms critical animal habitat.

In August, citing rising demand for additional court space, the Borough Council passed a resolution to erect a second paddleball court and viewing area at the north end of Cornelius Park, which is known locally as Crescent Park due to its shape.

It would be the fourth court at the park, which also has an existing paddleball court and two tennis courts.

But some neighbors are attempting to stop the construction of the addition, saying it will reduce the size of one of the few remaining forested areas along the Monmouth County shoreline.

The new court, "that's going to mean more noise, more light… it's disturbing the wildlife," said Geraldine O'Keefe, who serves as spokeswoman for the neighbors who are trying to strop the construction.

O'Keefe said hundreds of people have since signed paper and online petitions against the project.

Neighbors say owls, foxes, deer, migrating songbirds and Cooper's hawks are just some of the wildlife that are living within the 17-acre park, which is managed under a stewardship forest program.

To qualify as a New Jersey stewardship forest, the trees are cared for and seedlings planted. The trees can be used for timber, but a stewardship forest is also designed to provide benefits such as habitat, improved water quality and aesthetic benefits to the community.

O'Keefe worries the new court threatens the purpose of Crescent Park's managed forest.

"Cutting down of these mature trees is irrevocable for future generations," she said in a news release circulated to borough officials.

But borough officials, in a presentation posted to the municipal website, said court reservations more than doubled between 2019 and 2020, rising from 246 to 586. The increase happened despite the court being closed for two months of 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

The number of permit holders to the courts also increased 67% between 2019 and 2020, according to the presentation.

Borough residents have since complained to municipal staff about limitations in reservation times, officials said in the presentation. Sea Girt Mayor Donald Fetzer did not immediately return emails from the Asbury Park Press.

Plans call for the new court and viewing area would be erected next to the existing courts.

Town officials said adding onto the existing courts at Crescent Park was the most logical solution to meet increasing demand. Other parks in town either had no space for another court or open space concerns that precluded them from being good choices for the court, they said.

The project is expected to cost about $100,000 and would be funded through a recreation trust fund and money raised through the 2020 Sea Girt 5K.

Though the Borough Council voted unanimously to approve the project, Borough Administrator James Gant said in an email that no contractors have yet bid to construct the new court.

The project has been reviewed by the borough's Shade Tree Commission and Sea Girt Conservancy, a group committed to enhancing the borough's parks, and would include planting two trees in Crescent Park for each tree removed by construction, Gant added.

The replanting is not enough to win support from O'Keefe.

"The argument that the town will replace each mature tree with two trees is just unacceptable," she said.

Charlotte Van Horne Squarcy, who lives within walking distance of the park, hopes attention is paid to remediating the habitat if, or when, the project is constructed. Because of the limited areas of forest left along the Monmouth County coast, Crescent Park plays an important roll for animals in and around Sea Girt as well as birds migrating along the coast, she said.

"If they (borough officials) are going to have some remedial measures… for the forest, I want them to do it for the animals, too," she said.

Some neighbors plan to raise their concerns about the project during the Borough Council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday. A link to the virtual meeting is available at www.seagirt-nj.gov.

Amanda Oglesby is an Ocean County native who covers Brick, Barnegat and Lacey townships as well as the environment. She has worked for the Press for more than a decade. Reach her at @OglesbyAPP, [email protected] or 732-557-5701.

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