On Tuesday, retail giant Walmart announced that it would bear the entire cost of college tuition and books for all its approximately 1.5 million employees: part-time and full-time in Walmart and Sam’s Club through its Live Better U (LBU) program. This program will begin from August 16. It will no longer ask its associates to pay the dollar a day fee to participate in the higher education program funded by the company.
Walmart said that it will invest a billion dollars in its employee education program. The company’s LBU program has education partners among 10 colleges in the nation. These colleges offer classes and degrees to Walmart employees.
The company’s senior vice president of learning and leadership, Lorraine Stomski said that its educational programs will be related to its growth areas. She said that the company will offer programs in fields including business administration, cyber security, and supply chain.
Some of the colleges that have partnered with Walmart include
- University of Arizona
- Johnson & Wales University
- University of Denver
- Penn Foster
- Southern New Hampshire University
- Purdue University.
Earlier, Walmart had faced criticism for its low wages when compared with other rivals including Amazon, Kroger, and Target. In February 2021, the retailer said that it would increase its hourly wage to $15.25 per hour. In March, the company said that it would give an additional raise to employees on both the coasts of the nation as these regions have higher living expenses and more competition for labor.
Since the pandemic, many workers are not going back to the jobs that were previously held by them despite a huge availability. Many job markets are facing a labor crunch. Employers are offering several benefits that were never offered by them, in the past. Yet, there is a shortage of labor in several industries and operations despite an increased demand.
Some of the major reasons for worker shortage are as follows:
- Many workers are afraid of catching COVID-19 at work.
- Some workers have to remain home for childcare.
- Some businesses pay less than the extra $300 per week federal unemployment benefit.
Many states have already stopped the additional benefits while the program on the whole will stop by September. Some employers feel that a few small businesses will go under before September, if they don’t get enough workers.
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