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Walmart Learning on the Job Counts for Education

By: 4 June 2010 No Comment

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Walmart employees learn on the job and their work and life experience can help them earn college credit.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart announced Thursday that employees can count their work experience to earn up to 45 percent of college credit toward an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree.

That is through a partnership with American Public University in West Virginia. Walmart employees take specific courses online, such as organizational management or marketing, and get a 15 percent reduction in tuition, said Deisha Galberth, Walmart spokeswoman.

“With that, it brings the cost down to $212.50 per credit hour for undergraduate work and $255 per credit hour for graduate work,” Galberth said.

“We think it’s really important that people understand what our associates do and learn on the job,” Galberth said. “We surveyed more than 30,000 associates and they said the flexibility of taking online courses was important.”

Walmart is investing more than $50 million throughout the next three years to provide employees tuition assistance. The employees keep their college degrees, even if and when they leave Walmart.

“It’s important NOT because we think or expect every Walmart associate will do this,” said Walmart vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright.

Walmart vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright

“It is a reflection of our culture of opportunity, but also our deeper belief in the promise of living better.”

American Public University will phase in its review of the Walmart jobs that qualify for credit toward a college degree, Galberth said.

It will start with field employees in stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers, Castro-Wright said.

“More positions will be included in this program each quarter as we move through the year and beyond,” he said.

However, Galberth said right now, 200,000 employees are in Walmart jobs that qualify for the lifelong learning credits.

By 2012, approximately 70 percent of Walmart’s 1.4 million U.S. employees will be in jobs for which their Walmart work can earn them college credit, Galberth said.

About: Lana F. Flowers:
Lana F. Flowers is a gifted Arkansas reporter who can handle news about Walmart and retail, movie and book reviews, human interest stories, features and anything else you'd care to mention. She lives in Rogers, Ark., with her husband Jesse, daughter Layla, cats Lottie Boots and Emmy, and dog Fuzzy. Send an email -- fashionablewords@yahoo.com

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