Walmart, the largest U.S. private employer, announced it will pay 100% of college tuition and books for associates through its Live Better U (LBU) education program.
The company said it will invest nearly $1 billion over the next five years in career-driven training and development, according to a statement.
“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.”
Walmart said that starting August 16, it would remove the $1 a day fee it previously had for employees who want to earn a degree.
“The economy and job market have changed, and Walmart is always looking for new ways to encourage more associates to pursue further education,” the statement reiterated.
The company explained that it will add four academic partners, including Johnson & Wales University, the University of Arizona, the University of Denver and Pathstream. These will be additions to the current partners, including 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,” according to the statement.
“Walmart is committed to eliminating the burden of education debt. Cost is a leading barrier for earning a degree with student loan debt in the U.S. topping $1.7 trillion,” the company added.
“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,” Rachel Carlson, CEO & co-founder of Guild Education, said in the statement. “Walmart is creating growth opportunities for their workforce and preparing them for the future of work.”
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Last updated: July 29, 2021