Ford: Lay-off those assembly lines and get your homework done!

A second term for George W. Bush. The interminable war in Iraq. Tuesday's cancellation of Malcolm In The Middle. The past few years haven't given activist Michael Moore much to cheer about. But Ford Motor Company (of all people) is giving Mr. Roger & Me a little ray of sunshine: the automaker is offering to foot the tuition bill for some of its laid-off workers.

Dearborn officials inaugurated the program last week by giving furloughed employees at its Edison, New Jersey plant (which closed back in 2004) the chance for some higher learning. The Blue Oval also plans to extend the deal to workers at one of its plants in Lorain, Ohio, and more could be on the way.

The reimbursement plan comes as a product of negotiations with the UAW. And for eligible workers, it's a pretty sweet deal: up to $15,000/year for tuition, along with living expenses equal to half the worker's hourly pay (around $25k/year). If that's not enough, Ford's new students keep their health care benefits, too.

[Source: The Associated Press via Newsday]

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