Walmart Inc. is introducing an education benefit for its employees in the United States and Puerto Rico, allowing workers to pursue degrees in business and supply chain management.

“We’ve been very deliberate about our investment in our associates over the past few years,” wrote Erica Jones, senior manager of corporate communications, in an email to Benefits Canada.

“In 2015, we announced a $2.7-billion investment in wages and training, and this education benefit is the next step in that investment. Our associates have expressed that as a part of their professional and personal growth, they would be interested in continuing their education, but costs was a barrier for them.

“We created this program to remove those barriers that have prevented associates from pursuing higher education. And as we developed this program with Guild Education, we looked for universities that were tailored toward working adult learners and that had a dedication to completion.”

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According to Jones, the cost to employees is $1 per day, while Walmart covers books, tuition and fees beyond employees’ contributions and financial aid they receive. The organization expects to expand the program in the future, but it wanted to focus on offering two degrees at first to ensure the program was successful, she noted.

The end benefit to the employer, according to Jones, is having a successful, well-trained and engaged workforce.

An employee joins the program by creating an account with Guild Education and setting up an appointment with an education coach, said Jones.

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“Once they’re paired with the education coach, the coach will talk with them about their previous education experience, what they’re looking to achieve, their work experience, etc., and then they’ll assist them with the application process, including financial aid applications.

“That education coach will also continue to have weekly check-ins with the associate as they go through their classes, an added measure of support to help the associates complete their degree.” 

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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