Earlier this week, Walmart announced an expansion of the their employee benefits designed to build a more robust employee talent pipeline. Targeting high school students, the announcement is primarily an expansion of their relatively new employee education offerings.
Marketed as $1 a day degrees, the program includes access to free SAT or ACT preparation classes and several hours of free college credit to current or future high school students.
The $1 a day degree is offered in partnership with Guild Education at six nonprofit colleges including Bellevue College, Brandman University, Southern New Hampshire University, or the University of Florida. Degrees include both Associates and Bachelors in areas such as Cyber security, Computer Information Systems, and Business Management and Leadership.
Employees can also apply the $1 a day degree towards obtaining or completing credits needed for a high school diploma through Penn Foster High School or opt to learn a new language through Rosetta Stone.
The expanded offerings come at a time when the United States job market is approaching full employment and employers are scrambling to find enough talent to fill positions. Several other large multinationals have also expanded their employee benefit programs to increase their attractiveness as a potential employer. Simultaneously student loan debt has now surpassed $1.5 trillion while the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates say that in the coming years only a quarter of recent graduates will be able to find work to enter the workforce.
Though not without criticism, Walmart has taken a number of steps to improve their community, employee, and supply chain relationships including raising their minimum wage to $11 per hour, expanding maternity and paternity leave, reducing emissions with their suppliers, and sourcing their textile fibers sustainably.
Interested in learning more about Walmart’s corporate social responsibility efforts? Take a look at this case study of their efforts towards sustainably farmed seafood.
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