Walmart's New Education Benefit Puts Cap and Gown within Reach for Associates
Benefit includes free college credit for Walmart Academy training and options for associates to earn a college degree without incurring student loan debt
Walmart today unveiled a new associate education benefit designed to remove barriers to college enrollment and graduation. The program reflects the company’s commitment to train and educate workers to advance in the jobs of today -- and the future.
In partnership with Guild Education, a leading education benefits platform, Walmart associates will be able to access affordable, high-quality associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in Business or Supply Chain Management. Under the program, which will be made available to all U.S. associates, Walmart will subsidize the cost of higher education, beyond financial aid and an associate contribution equivalent to $1 a day. Degrees will be offered through the University of Florida, Brandman University and Bellevue University - nonprofit schools selected for their focus and outcomes on serving working adult learners.
"Investing in the personal and professional success of our associates is vital to Walmart’s future success. We know training and learning opportunities empower associates to deliver for customers while growing and advancing in their careers,” said Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart U.S.
Highlights of the program include:
Under the program, the associate contribution to a college degree would be just $1 a day. Walmart will subsidize the cost of tuition, books and fees and students will not need to pay any upfront costs to attend classes, eliminating the need for student loan debt and addressing one the biggest hurdles that keep people from returning to college.
Additionally, associates can jump start their path to completion by earning college credit for paid training at Walmart Academies. Thousands of associates have already undergone academy and skills training equivalent to more than $210 million in college credits. This will save associates both time and money in completing their degree.
Walmart selected universities with a unique focus on serving working adult learners and top outcomes for the working adult demographic. Additionally, Walmart collaborated with the universities to tailor the curriculum to relevant skills for jobs and advancement across industries, both today and in the future.
Working with three universities that include both competitive and open-access programs, Walmart provides all associates a place to start. The goal is for all associates who apply for admission to be accepted. These universities have a programmatic dedication to high graduation rates for their students.
From day one, associates will receive support from a Guild Education coach on everything from the application and enrollment process to selecting the appropriate degree and getting credit for prior college and work experience. This type of counseling has been shown to help students complete their degree.
"Walmart has kicked off what might be the nation’s most scalable approach to creating educational opportunity for America’s workforce, now available to its U.S. associates and their families," said Rachel Carlson, chief executive officer and co-founder of Guild Education. "Walmart is also leading innovation at the intersection of workforce development and higher education by helping associates earn college credit for their on-the-job training."
Walmart is also committed to an independent evaluation of the outcome of its new offering. The Lumina Foundation has agreed to research and measure the impact and effectiveness of the offering and will work with the Walmart team to share the findings.
"Walmart is making a significant investment in its workforce that will not just help the company, but help shift how our society moves towards more affordable and accessible pathways for individuals to be recognized and rewarded for their work-based skills and knowledge, resulting in high-quality, relevant credentials. We applaud Walmart’s efforts," said Jamie Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of the Lumina Foundation.
"I commend Walmart for trying an innovative strategy to increase the skills and post-secondary education of its workers and for committing to having the Lumina Foundation conduct and independent evaluation of the program. I look forward to studying Lumina’s findings," said Alan Krueger, professor of economics, Princeton University.
ADDITIONAL EDUCATIONAL AND TRAINING OFFERINGS
Walmart’s new education program underscores the importance of education in helping associates prepare for the future. College degrees in supply chain management or business are just one part of a broader approach to preparing the workforce to succeed today and into the future. Initiatives include:
- Developing a broad suite of offerings across roles and levels to help associates from frontline to executive levels develop job-related skills for advancement.
- Walmart covers the complete cost for associates and eligible family members for earning a high school diploma or GED.
- Associates and eligible family members have access to tuition discounts, financial aid assistance and education coaching across Guild’s broader network of more than 80 accredited, nonprofit university partners, including schools, such as The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Columbia University and Purdue University made available through edX.
- Access to professional development courses including college prep, leadership training and ESL.
These programs are available to full-time, part-time and salaried Walmart U.S. store, supply chain, home office and Sam’s Club associates.
Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, nearly 270 million customers and members visit our more than 11,700 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2018 revenue of $500.3 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.
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