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Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Target announced Wednesday plans to offer debt-free education assistance to more than 340,000 of its front-line workers.

Why it matters: Americans owe $1.6 trillion in student loans.

Details: The aid will cover select undergraduate degrees and certificates, tuition assistance supplies and other out-of-pocket expenses at no cost to workers.

  • The policy, which applies to all U.S. part-time and full-time team members, will include 250 business-aligned programs from over 40 schools, colleges and universities.
  • Target will also pay up to $10,000 per year for master’s degrees. The company plans to invest $200 million in the program, which will take effect this fall, over the next four years.
  • The move aims to "eliminate student debt and promote equitable access to education for its team as part of Target Forward sustainability strategy."

What they're saying: "Target employs team members at every life stage and helps our team learn, develop and build their skills, whether they’re with us for a year or a career," Melissa Kremer, Target's chief human resources officer, said in a statement.

Yes, but: The company faced protests from workers over COVID-related safety concerns and low wages.

  • "We’re trying to lead the way in showing that there’s an alternative here where we don’t have to choose between sacrificing our lives for a paycheck that isn’t going to cover our medical expenses or our funeral expenses if we catch this virus or die from it," Adam Ryan, a Target employee who participated in a nationwide strike last year, told CNBC.

Go deeper

Biden administration overhauls student loan forgiveness program

Brookland Middle School teacher Michelle Taylor with President Biden in September 2021 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Education announced Wednesday that it would temporarily relax rules governing a student loan forgiveness program, making it easier for service members, teachers, nurses and other public servants to qualify for debt relief.

Why it matters: In total, the department estimates that its overhaul of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program will bring over 550,000 borrowers closer to debt forgiveness.

Kellogg's workers go on strike at all U.S. cereal plants

Kellogg's Corn Flakes production line. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Some 1,400 Kellogg Company workers went on strike at all of the company's U.S. cereal plants Tuesday.

The big picture: The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union said in a statement it's seeking a "fair contract" for workers in negotiations with the company after the previous one expired at midnight Monday.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.