Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has started several programs to draw high school students to its workforce and then help them get educations.
At the cornerstone of these projects are new school programs:
Jobs with scheduling options for flexibility or core hours (work the same days and shifts for up to 13 weeks),
Free ACT and SAT prep,
Up to seven hours of free college credit through Live Better U’s College Start program, and
A debt-free college degree through Live Better U (upon high school completion) in the in-demand fields of technology, business or supply chain management at six nonprofit universities.
As tens of thousands of dollars of debt weigh on many U.S. students, this part of the plan is particularly attractive. Walmart describes this as an “end to end” plan for people who want to further themselves and work at the world’s largest retailers.
Many of the education programs are aimed at students who want more tech experience:
Walmart is expanding its offering of debt-free degrees that associates can earn through Live Better U. The additional 14 technology degrees and certificates — like cyber security, computer science, computer and network security and computing technology — are in addition to the business and supply chain degrees currently offered for $1 a day.
The education for Walmart employees who want degrees are available at several universities. Southern New Hampshire University, Purdue University Global and Wilmington University are new to Live Better U and join University of Florida, Brandman University and Bellevue University.
The company describes program:
Live Better U supports associate education at every level. The program includes our $1 a day college program, cost-free high school education to associates and eligible family members, discounts on higher education programs like master’s degrees, foreign language learning and much more – all in partnership with Guild Education.
Walmart must still struggle with its reputation for paying low wages, in some cases ones that, according to many experts, keep its workers below the poverty line. These new programs may be a start.