Boxed.com CEO Chieh Huang is using his own cash to send his workers’ kids to college.
Huang told CBS News that education played a huge role in letting him rise to CEO from his humble family roots, and he wanted to share that with his workers, many of whom couldn’t even afford cars to get to and from the Atlanta headquarters every day. “I thought, ‘What was it that created the upward mobility in my family, especially when my parents first came to this country?’ That enabler was access to higher education. The thing is, if you can’t afford a car, how are you ever going to afford post-secondary school? That got me thinking that we are building a long-term business here, and we need to reinvest back into the folks who are committed to us.”
Huang’s tuition plan will cover just that—tuition; students (or their parents) are responsible to pay for their own room and board.
For those asking why he doesn’t just pay his workers more, Huang has an answer for that. (For what it’s worth, his workers get paid nearly twice the federal minimum wage.) “We give pretty generous raises at aggressive intervals, but I don’t think that’s a game changer for upward mobility,” Huang noted. “I thought this was a good way to set this tone that this is a long-term business we’re building. It’s not a get-rich scheme where we’re done in a year or two, and it’s going to take a while. They’ll have to be with us for many years for these benefits to manifest.”