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Walmart Expands Affordable Education Program For Associates

Walmart Live Better University LBU

Last updated on September 19th, 2022 at 10:35 am

Walmart built one of the largest employer-based educational benefits programs in the U.S. in two years, Live Better U (LBU), and the company recently announced an expansion to include in-demand skilled trade and digital skills programs, beyond its traditional college programs.

And over the past few months, Walmart has committed to invest almost $1 billion in U.S. associate bonuses.

“The current economic climate has only added urgency to the need for practical training and education opportunities for Americans, especially those who do not fit the historic profile of a fulltime student,” said Julie Murphy, EVP of people at Walmart U.S. “By adding both digital courses and skilled trades to our education benefit, associates have access to even more in-demand skills so they can advance their careers, whether at Walmart or elsewhere.”

LBU offerings

LBU is designed to support working adult learners and meets associates where they are on their educational journey by focusing on degree completion through a number of supportive elements, free student coaching, college credit for Walmart training and career pathways for LBU graduates.

Regardless of which path an associate chooses, those who take advantage of LBU have one thing in common – they are earning a degree or certificate along with a paycheck, without lifelong student debt.

“One of the most exciting aspects of LBU is that those enrolled have significantly higher retention rates in their jobs at Walmart,” Murphy said. “Promotion rates are double amongst those who engage in an LBU program. Our goal in rolling back the eligibility date to first day of employment is part of a strategy to engage associates on day one and identify these self-starters early in their Walmart careers.”

Since the June 2018 launch, LBU has made a great impact, outlined below:

  • The majority of associates who have engaged in LBU are female, the average age is between 30 and 40, and 47 percent are people of color.
  • More than 25,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club associates from all 50 states have taken advantage of education offerings, including $1-a-day college degrees and free high school completion.
  • Walmart is expanding LBU to offer eligibility to all part- and full-time Walmart and Sam’s Club associates starting on their first day of employment, based on LBU’s results in driving associate retention and promotions.

A Deloitte study found that the skills gap may leave an estimated 2.4 million jobs unfilled by 2028. Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart and its large network of suppliers have similar gaps in skilled trades roles.

Additionally, a report by Strada Education and Lumina Foundation found that certificates provide substantial value in both employment and personal satisfaction for American adults without college degrees. The study found that adults with a certificate or certification, but no college degree, report greater marketability, employment rates, incomes and happiness with their educational paths than adults without credentials.

“We’ve been thrilled to work alongside Walmart to help build what is now one of the largest education benefit programs in the U.S. and has empowered Walmart associates to advance their career, without student debt,” said Rachel Carlson, CEO and co-founder of Guild Education. “With the expansion into skilled trades and digital programs, Live Better U is helping its associates prepare to succeed in today’s accelerated future of work economy.”

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Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
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