Walmart Supports Associates by Funding College Tuition and Books; Lorraine Stomski and Rachel Carlson Comment
BENTONVILLE, AR - For far too many, finances remain an obstacle in the journey to a college degree, making this opportunity unobtainable. As it looks to bolster both its workforce and the world at large, Walmart is enacting a new strategy to ensure its team members have access to a college education. The retailer is strategizing to pay for 100 percent of its associates’ college tuition and books through its Live Better U (LBU) education program, committing to invest nearly $1 billion over the next five years in career-driven training and development.
“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,” said Lorraine Stomski, Senior Vice President of Learning and Leadership at Walmart. “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.”
Starting August 16, the $1 a day fee will be removed for associates, making all education programs paid for by Walmart, a press release stated. Approximately 1.5 million part-time and full-time Walmart and Sam’s Club associates in the U.S. will now have the opportunity to earn college degrees or learn trade skills without the burden of education debt.
The LBU program was initially designed after consulting with experts, reviewing other employer-provided education programs, and studying the research around what helps drive completion rates among adult working learners, which helped guide the initial $1 a day approach.
As the economy and job market have changed, Walmart is looking for new ways to encourage its associates to pursue further education. More than 52,000 associates have participated in the program since LBU began in 2018, and 8,000 have already graduated.
“We’re also excited to add in-demand college degree and certificate options in business administration, supply chain, and cybersecurity. These additional offerings join a robust catalog of programs to set associates up for new career opportunities,” Stomski said. “Our education offerings tie directly to our growth areas at Walmart, and what better way to fill the pipeline of future talent than with our own associates.”
Walmart will team up with Johnson & Wales University, the University of Arizona, the University of Denver, and Pathstream, in addition to its existing partnerships with Brandman University, Penn Foster, Purdue University Global, Southern New Hampshire University, Wilmington University, and Voxy EnGen. Each of these institutions were chosen for their history of success with adult and working learner programs as well as their focus on degree completion.
"As the company making one of the nation's largest investments in education for America's workforce, Walmart is setting a new standard for what it looks like to prepare workers for the jobs of the future," said Rachel Carlson, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Guild Education, another of Walmart’s partners in this cause. "Walmart is creating growth opportunities for their workforce and preparing them for the future of work.”
We tip our hats to Walmart on enacting this strategy to champion such an important cause.