PETALING JAYA (July 28): The 1.5 million US employees of Walmart, one of the largest retail companies in that country, will benefit from free college tuition and books as the company’s latest effort to attract and retain workers in a tight labour market, reported The Washington Post.

In a news report today, the company said it will invest US$1 billion (RM4.23 billion) into employees’ career training and development programmes, enabling them to pursue majors in high-demand fields such as business administration, supply chain and cybersecurity over the next five years through its Live Better U programme.

“We are creating a path of opportunity for our associates to grow their careers at Walmart,” said Lorraine Stomski, Walmart’s senior vice president in a media call with The Washington Post.

She noted that the investment is another way the company supports their 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 programme was created three years ago to help employees advance within the company where employees of Walmart and Sam’s Club needed to pay US$1 a day to participate in the programme. From August 16 onwards, the programme will be free for its employees to participate.

Through the programme, Walmart has partnered up with 10 academic institutions in the country and employees may choose universities such as University of Arizona, University of Denver, Purdue University Global and Southern New Hampshire University.

Since its inception, there have been 8,000 graduates under the programme with more than 52,000 of Walmart and Sam’s Club employees participating in it.

Sam’s Club is a membership only retail warehouse club operated by Walmart Inc.

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