The country’s largest retailer and largest private employer is taking a stand for education on behalf of its employees.
According to CNN, Walmart has announced that it plans to pay for full college tuition and book fees at some schools for its U.S. employees. Thus, making this the boldest effort from the retailer as of late to improve its benefit packages and attract new workers in America’s already tight job market.
Starting on Aug. 16, Walmart says it will remove the $1 a day fee for associates, making all educational programs paid for by Walmart, according to its announcement. Meaning, approximately 1.5 million U.S.-based Walmart and Sam’s Club workers will be able to earn a college degree or learn trade skills without the hassle of student debt.
“We are creating a path of opportunity for our associates to grow their careers at Walmart, so they can continue to build better lives for themselves and their families,” Lorraine Stomski — senior vice president of learning and leadership at Walmart — said in the statement. “This investment is another way we can support our associates to pursue their passion and purpose while removing the barriers that too often keep adult working learners from obtaining degrees.”
In speaking with reporters she also added, “we feel that eliminating the dollar a day investment removes the financial barriers to enrollment, and it will increase access.”
Walmart also shared that it will be adding four additional academic partners, bringing the total to 10, for its education initiative — all which include the following:
- Johnson & Wales University
- The University of Arizona
- The University of Denver
- Brandman University
- Penn Foster
- Purdue University Global
- Southern New Hampshire University
- Wilmington University
- Voxy EnGen
Walmart’s decision for its partners was based on “their history of success with adult and working learner programs as well as their focus on degree completion,” according to the company.
As part of its commitment to eliminating the burden of education debt, Walmart is also investing nearly $1 billion over the next five years in career-driven training and development.
Through this large effort, Walmart is setting a new standard of what it means for employers to support their workers and create more growth opportunities to prepare employees for the future of work.