Desert Financial’s InvestED program follows the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, the first-of-its-kind program offered in partnership between Arizona State University and Starbucks, to provide its employees with an opportunity to learn and grow while working with the company.

The Arizona credit union recognized how quickly the world and jobs are changing, and it decided to adapt by implementing a world-class program through ASU and InStride.

Desert Financial employees pursuing higher education have the support of the company to keep learning and acquiring new skills as adult learners. Desert Financial hopes to build loyalty, engagement and retention with the company as Desert Financial CEO Jeff Meshey believes in “lifelong learning and continuous education.”

InStride works with companies to provide exclusive learning experiences to its employees and is excited to work with Desert Financial.

“We are proud to partner with a company like Desert Financial Credit Union that prioritizes its people and encourages them to pursue career advancement through education,” said Vivek Sharma, CEO of InStride. “InvestED is a meaningful program that will contribute to the company’s reputation as an employer of choice and will drive even further employee engagement.”

The InvestED program allows employees to earn a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, certificates, and more. This fall during its first cohort,100 students enrolled in classes. One of those students, Greg Schaffran, jumped at the opportunity to go back to school at ASU.

When Schaffran was 19 years old, his plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree at ASU quickly shifted when his son was born. By word of mouth and several recommendations, Schaffran applied to Desert Financial’s call center. He’s moved up quickly and now holds a quality analyst position. At his job he values giving back to his customers.

“It’s always been a passion of mine to get a degree as a way to move forward in my career and give back,” Schaffran said. He says he can already see the difference in his education, and he’s excited he doesn’t have to leave his son or the same desk he works from every day, to pursue his passion.

Schaffran is pursuing a dual degree in business administration and physics, his first love. So far in his education journey with ASU and InvestED, he’s noticed how in-depth his classes are from the explanations, assistance and application of the content. He appreciates how dedicated each person and organization is through this three-way partnership. A piece of advice he received from an academic adviser was, “It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you get started.” Schraffan and other Desert Financial employees have the chance to get started and continue learning at ASU.

Desert Financial Executive Vice President Cathy Graham hopes that more students will join Schraffan and participate in at least one course. “One day we’ll have 100% participation from all of our employees because ASU education is the crown jewel to employees with dependents and families.”