Verizon Wireless has been providing tuition assistance of up to $8,000 a year since 2001. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Company: Verizon Wireless.

Area locations: Laurel,

Hanover, Washington.

Number of employees: 2,000

regionally; 8,200 nationally.

Forget going to school. At Verizon Wireless, the university comes to you.

Since 2005, the company has partnered with Strayer University to offer on-site college courses for employees pursuing specialty certificates, as well as associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“It’s a really great program,” said Jacquelyn Murray, a business sales associate at the company’s Laurel office. “I don’t know anybody else who has this opportunity at work.”

Verizon Wireless also covers up to $8,000 a year in tuition, textbooks and fees for full-time employees, and up to $4,000 in expenses for part-time employees.

Murray, who has been working at Verizon Wireless for nine years, is currently taking online classes but plans to enroll in an on-site ethics course next semester. She already has a specialty certificate in government contract management through Verizon’s partnership with Strayer University, and is now working toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

“I’m a mom, so having it all here is a great time saver,” she said.

Verizon Wireless has on-site degree programs at 31 call centers and offices throughout the country, with plans to add four more by the end of the year, said Dorothy Martin, a national program manager.

“This has been a fabulous benefit — not only to employees but also for the company,” Martin said. “It reduces our turnover rate and gives employees a chance to move up in the business.”

And demand is high, Martin said.

About one-third of area Verizon Wireless employees currently take part in the program.

“It’s one of our most effective recruiting tools,” Martin said. “Over half of our participants say our educational offerings were one of the big reasons they decided to work at Verizon.”