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RJR NABISCO ANNOUNCES PROGRAM TO FINANCE POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION FOR EMPLOYEES' CHILDREN; PART OF 1ST LARGE-SCALE COMMITMENT BY A CORPORATION

RJR NABISCO ANNOUNCES PROGRAM TO FINANCE POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION FOR EMPLOYEES' CHILDREN; PART OF 1ST LARGE-SCALE COMMITMENT BY A CORPORATION
 NEW YORK, March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- RJR Nabisco, Inc. today announced a new education initiative that includes a program to help put post- secondary education financially within the reach of the children of its employees.
 Under the plan, the company is offering a variety of financial aids, including matched savings, loan subsidies and scholarships, to provide that no child of an RJR Nabisco employee will be denied post-secondary education due to lack of funds.
 The education financing is part of a comprehensive, four-pronged initiative to assure that every RJR Nabisco employee is prepared to meet today's workplace challenges, and that future employees will have the necessary skills to succeed in a more competitive world.
 Louis V. Gerstner Jr., chairman and CEO of RJR Nabisco, characterized the initiative as "a downpayment on our future." He added, "An educated, flexible workforce is the key to our competitive strength -- both as a company and a nation. RJR Nabisco has made improving education a major priority. This initiative puts our commitment to work for RJR Nabisco employees and their families."
 Eugene R. Croisant, executive vice president of administration and human resources at the company, said, "We believe this is the first corporate effort to take such a comprehensive approach to learning and education."
 Four-Part Employee Initiative
 Specific elements of the four-part initiative are:
 -- Financial assistance to help employees pay for their children's education beyond high school. This assistance includes a tax-deferred savings plan where the company will match, dollar-for-dollar, annual contributions of as much as $1,000 per child during each of the child's four years in high school. Other forms of help include subsidies on government PLUS (Parents Loans for Undergraduate Study) loans, scholarships for post-secondary study, and easy access to information on education financing so that families can explore all funding alternatives.
 -- Training and incentives for employees to take leadership roles in education. This includes company grants for schools where employees hold leadership positions and workshops to prepare employees as agents of change in their local school system.
 -- Expanded work skills training for all employees. Over half of the company's U.S. employees already have taken advantage of some work skills training.
 -- Time off so employees can accompany their children on the first day of school and attend parent-teacher conferences.
 Initiative Open to U.S. Workers
 Gerstner added, "We expect that every employee in the U.S. will be able to take advantage of at least one aspect of this initiative. We don't view this merely as another employee benefit, like health insurance. We view this as a far-reaching investment that requires a commitment from employees as well as the company."
 The initiative will be in place in time for the 1992-1993 academic year.
 While eligibility for most elements of the plan isn't restricted, the corporation's top 147 executives aren't eligible to participate in the matched savings plan or receive loan subsidies. "We wanted to help the employees most in need of this assistance," said Croisant. "This program is not a perk for senior management."
 Although the company hasn't estimated the total cost of the four- part initiative, the matched savings plan and loan subsidies are expected to cost between $5 million to $6 million a year.
 This estimate assumes about 6,500 to 7,000 children of employees will participate in the matched savings program and about 4,000 children will require student loans.
 "To ensure our competitive strength, we have to move on many fronts at once," Gerstner said. "We expect to continue to add new programs, strengthen existing ones and meet new needs as they emerge. Like education itself, this is an ongoing process, one which will never be finished."
 The employee education initiative is part of RJR Nabisco's larger commitment to the quality of education in America. In 1990, the RJR Nabisco Foundation dedicated $30 million to Next Century Schools, a challenge-grant program to encourage radical, sustainable change in public education.
 -0- 3/2/92
 /CONTACT: Tracey G. Riese of RJR Nabisco, 212-258-5779/ CO: RJR Nabisco, Inc. ST: New York IN: FOD SU:


GK-OS -- NY037 -- 3919 03/02/92 11:34 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 2, 1992
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