Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions Launches Low-Cost Education for Employers to Offer Workers Furloughed as a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic

man studying

April 22, 2020 – Bright Horizons® (NYSE: BFAM) EdAssist Solutions today announced a new educational benefit program that enables employers who have had to furlough workers due to the coronavirus pandemic to offer affordable education opportunities so employees can continue to enhance their career skills while on furlough. Free for employees, this employer-sponsored program provides self-paced, online courses in partnership with StraighterLine and with assistance from McGraw-Hill Education. It builds on Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions’ outskilling services that support career transitions including how to manage your money, education, and career through times of uncertainty.

“The economic fallout from the pandemic has resulted in the displacement of millions of workers. But it also presents an opportunity to re-invest in those who have been furloughed, to ensure that they are equipped for higher wage roles – and career advancement – when the economy recovers,” said Patrick Donovan, SVP of Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions. “Increasing access to affordable education is a great way for businesses to support and stay connected with furloughed workers, while ensuring the business is well-positioned to tackle critical skills gaps in the future.”

Research from the Bright Horizons 2019 Working Learner Index shows that employers who deploy education benefits are more likely to retain engaged and loyal workers. This expands to the unexpected furloughed population, where employers are looking to stay engaged, maximize return-to-work rates and add valuable skills for furloughed employees during this downtime.

Donovan adds, “Another option for employers to support their current and furloughed employees during this time is to contribute on a pre-tax basis to their employees’ outstanding student loan debt. This new pre-tax treatment of student loans was added to the existing pre-tax treatment of tuition payments through the CARES Act. We are uniquely positioned to help employers since Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions has been supporting both student loan and tuition programs in this way.”

Bright Horizons provides workplace employee services to more than 1,100 employers across the world, including education benefits like education assistance program development and management, education advising, and student loan repayment programs available to over 7 million client employees. For more information please visit