Walmart revamps education benefit with an eye toward internal mobility

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Walmart is revamping its Live Better U education benefit program to focus on in-demand skills that will make associates more hirable for key roles in the company, according to a Feb. 22 update.

The company is doubling the number of short certificate options that are paid by Walmart, with the aim of providing pathways to higher-paying, higher-skilled jobs.

“Our goal is to help fast-track Walmart and Sam’s Club associates into approximately 100,000 in-demand jobs we expect to fill over the next three years,” Lorraine Stomski, senior vice president of associate learning and leadership at Walmart, said in the announcement.

The 100,000 jobs include salaried management and hourly supervisor roles in stores and supply chain facilities. Training programs will also focus on helping associates develop skills for roles in technology, health and wellness, and the company’s private fleet of truck drivers.

The new approach to employee education will emphasize skills-based hiring, particularly as the company drops degree requirements for many roles. Some of the certificates include training on front-line manager leadership, people and business leadership, data science, software development and project management.

“We hope over the next five years that more employers take these big steps,” Stomski said. “It’s good for business, life-changing for associates and true to Walmart’s longstanding culture of growing our own, promoting from within and preparing them for the future of work.”

Walmart’s recent moves around education and skills-based hiring reflect a broader focus on upskilling and development among employers nationwide. When companies prioritize skill building and career development, internal mobility increases significantly, according to a LinkedIn report.

Building a talent pipeline is also a top priority for 2024, according to a Symphony Talent survey of HR and talent acquisition professionals. Employee referral programs, internal career sites and employee development programs can help.

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