Stu­dent loan aid helps firm’s ben­e­fits pack­age

The Star Democrat - - REAL ESTATE -

PRE­STON — Grow­ing stu­dent debt is one of Amer­ica’s largest con­cerns. Forbes calls it a cri­sis, cit­ing a crush­ing $1.3 tril­lion bur­den. It takes se­cond place in con­sumer debt only to mort­gage debt and is squeez­ing more than 44 mil­lion bor­row­ers.

Tu­ition re­im­burse­ment pro­grams are noth­ing new for em­ploy­ers, but very few of­fer ex­ist­ing debt pay-down pro­grams. Only 3 per­cent of em­ploy­ers na­tion­wide of­fered pay-down pro­grams in 2016, ac­cord­ing to a 2016 So­ci­ety of Hu­man Re­source Man­age­ment study.

Chop­tank Trans­port, a na­tion­wide, third-party lo­gis­tics com­pany head­quar­tered in Pre­ston, wrote al­most a dozen checks to em­ploy­ees for col­lege loan re­pay­ments this week, amount­ing to more than $16,000 in to­tal. The pro­gram was an­nounced ear­lier in the year. Ap­pli­ca­tions be­came avail­able in May and re­cip­i­ents were no­ti­fied in June of their el­i­gi­bil­ity into the pro­gram.

Ge­off Turner, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, said. “Ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing are a top pri­or­ity at Chop­tank. We en­cour­age em­ploy­ees who have made an ef­fort to im­prove them­selves, both pro­fes­sion­ally and per­son­ally. If you in­vest in your peo­ple, they will in­vest in you, and be­ing able to lessen the fi­nan­cial bur­den on these in­di­vid­u­als shows how much we value them.”

Pro­grams like Chop­tank’s are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar as a pow­er­ful re­cruit­ment and reten- tion tool for em­ploy­ers. The ben­e­fits to em­ploy­ees are many, such as al­low­ing those to throw a lit­tle ex­tra to­wards their 401Ks or by help­ing them avoid ad­di­tional and un­nec­es­sary credit card debt.

Chop­tank Trans­port is ac­tively hir­ing sales and lo­gis­tics pro­fes­sion­als in its Pre­ston, head­quar­ters as well as its Tampa, Dal­las, Den­ver and At­lanta re­gional of­fice lo­ca­tions. For more in­for­ma­tion, go to www.chop­tank­trans­port. com/ca­reers.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Chop­tank Trans­port em­ploy­ees re­spond to the stu­dent loan pay-down pro­gram at the com­pany.

RICK RIDER

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