MGM Resorts International has confirmed that its new collaboration with the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) has acquired Nevada Board of Regents approval.

The partnership is aiming to grow expanded educational benefits to its almost 72,000 employees throughout the US.

Marking “the first time a Fortune 500 company is partnering with an entire system of higher education,” the MGM College Opportunity Program will see employees receive education through NSHE schools, free of charge for all credit hours.

Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, stated: “As the American workforce continues to evolve, I believe in higher education as a pathway to the middle class.

“MGM Resorts is committed to expanding those pathways and investing in its employees and communities in which we operate.

“We are focused on reducing the financial burden on our employees while increasing access to professional growth opportunities.”

Set to begin during the latter stages of next year, the program is to emphasise degree completion, with MGM pledging that via its aim of making high education more affordable and accessible, its employees help in focussing on taking the right classes.

NSHE Chancellor Thom Reilly added: “This partnership will change the lives of these employees and their families, many of who are first-generation students,” said . “And the partnership will push NSHE institutions to offer more online degrees, an area in which we need to improve.”

MGM employees can join certificate, associates, bachelors or graduate degree online programs, via a host of institutions, which includes University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of Nevada Reno, Nevada State College, Great Basin College, Western Nevada College, College of Southern Nevada and Truckee Meadows Community College.

Participants are to receive academic and financial counseling and MGM will pay the cost for the degrees/certificates after all financial aid the employee is eligible for is exhausted.

Kevin J Page, Board of Regents Chair, hailed the programs entry point into higher education: “MGM is forward thinking when it comes to the future of working in America. Mr Murren and his team recognise the importance of having a highly skilled workforce, and how that can improve the company and individual employee lives.

“I’m proud of this partnership and thank everyone involved who helped make it happen.”