Walmart Will Pay for Employees’ College
When it comes to employer brand, Walmart does not have the best reputation. Long pilloried by critics for its low wages, meager benefits and the multitude of employee class-action lawsuits filed against it over the years, the retail giant has been trying to turn around its image by boosting employee pay and benefits and offering additional training. Now, Walmart has joined the ranks of well-regarded employers like Starbucks and United Technologies Corp. by giving its workers the opportunity to attend college on (mostly) the company’s dime.
Full- and part-time Walmart employees will be able to take subsidized classes toward degrees in business or supply-chain management, online or on-site, at one of three colleges: the University of Florida; Brandman University in Irvine, Calif.; and Bellevue University in Bellevue, Neb. Employees will be eligible for the program after completing 90 days of employment with Walmart and will be required to contribute just $1 per day toward the classes—Walmart will take care of the rest, including books and fees.
Walmart, which employs 1.4 million people in the U.S., is competing for workers in a labor market so tight that a Chik-fil-A franchisee recently announced he would boost his workers pay to $18 per hour. It’s also in a massive fight for retail dominance with Amazon, trying to build up its online presence and attract the tech talent it will need for success. These and other moves—including new “Walmart Academies” in the back of some of the company’s stores to provide manager training—are part of an effort to boost its image.