US retail giant Walmart to pay its employees’ college tuition fees and books

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US retail giant Walmart will offer free college tuition and books to its 1.5 million employees in a bid to attract and retain workers in a tight labour market. — Reuters pic
US retail giant Walmart will offer free college tuition and books to its 1.5 million employees in a bid to attract and retain workers in a tight labour market. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 — US retail giant Walmart will offer free college tuition and books to its 1.5 million employees in a bid to attract and retain workers in a tight labour market.

The Washington Post reported that the largest private employer in the US announced on Tuesday that it will invest nearly US$1 billion (RM4.23 billion) in the next five years in career training and development programmes for workers who wanted to pursue majors in high-demand fields, such as business administration, supply chain and cybersecurity.

The company had previously required its Walmart and Sam’s Club workforce to pay US$1 (RM4.23) a day to participate in the Live Better U education programme.

“We are creating a path of opportunity for our associates to grow their careers at Walmart,” Lorraine Stomski, the company’s senior vice-president of learning and leadership, reportedly said.

“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.”

“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.”

The Live Better U education programme, which will be free from August 16, was created three years ago to help employees advance within the company.

Workers can choose from 10 academic partners, including the University of Arizona, the University of Denver, Purdue University Global and Southern New Hampshire University.

More than 52,000 employees have participated and 8,000 have graduated since 2018.

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