Walmart, the world’s largest employer, recently announced it would cover college tuition costs for all its associates starting August 16, 2021.
The move comes as part of a larger effort to invest in career training and development for its employees. According to a press release, Walmart plans to invest almost a billion dollars to create growth paths for its employees.
Walmart already had employee tuition assistance in the form of its Live Better U program. Live Better U makes it possible to pursue degrees and education for the price of one dollar a day for all associates. Walmart will remove the $1 daily charge and make the program completely free in the future.
As one of the nation’s leading employers and private companies, Walmart’s decision comes after consulting with subject matter experts and looking at other companies’ employee education programs.
Having generated almost $560 billion in revenue in 2020, the company sees employee development as the key to future growth.
The initial Live Better U program came from the research and seeing the possibility of helping students with college loans further their education. The LBU program launched in 2018 and it collaborates with Guild Education to provide degrees in business, supply chain management, technology, and health.
As part of the LBU expansion in the following years, Walmart will add Johnson & Wales University, the University of Arizona, the University of Denver, and Pathstream to its list of participating institutions.
By all accounts, Walmart is making one of the most significant investments in employee education of any private employer. It’s a decision likely to lead to big changes in what employees expect from their employers and what employers will need to provide in order to retain quality personnel.