New degrees will provide associates with a path to healthcare careers
Walmart knows a well-trained and engaged workforce is critical to winning in the future. To prepare its associates for the next generation of healthcare jobs, Walmart is adding education benefit programs that provide a clear path to higher pay jobs in a growing area of the company and in the economy.
Beginning today, Walmart’s 1.5 million associates in the U.S. can apply for one of seven bachelor’s degrees and two career diplomas in health-related fields for $1 a day through Live Better U, Walmart’s education benefit program.
“Walmart aims to be the market leader in providing retail workers a path to careers in growing fields like healthcare,” said Drew Holler, Senior Vice President of Associate Experience for Walmart U.S. “We don’t know of any other retailer in America that has a program that allows its associates the opportunity to achieve a degree in healthcare that can translate into a higher-paying job within the company or in the broader field.”
The new offerings will arm associates with training to fill critical health care roles across Walmart and Sam’s Club, which includes more than 5,000 retail pharmacies, 3,000 vision centers and 400 hearing centers, as well as the new Walmart Health center in Georgia. The upskilled workforce will help the retailer make quality health care more affordable and accessible for customers in the communities it serves.
“Our presence in thousands of communities gives us a unique opportunity to provide access to affordable healthcare to millions of people, and we need trained associates in order to do so,” said Thomas Van Gilder, Chief Medical Officer at Walmart. “As our health and wellness strategy and offerings continue to evolve, Live Better U will play a critical role in preparing our associates across the country for future work opportunities in the growing healthcare field.”
The health and wellness courses include career diploma programs for pharmacy technicians and opticians through Penn Foster, and seven bachelor’s degrees in health science, health and wellness and healthcare management/administration offered through Purdue University Global, Southern New Hampshire University, Bellevue University and Wilmington University.
Live Better U now includes more than 50 programs, removing financial and access barriers to education for associates seeking educational opportunities across professions. The health and wellness courses are especially important given projected industry growth of 18 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Walmart’s LBU offerings will expand with additional programs expected over the next year.
“Walmart’s Live Better U is quickly leading the pack as one of the most innovative corporate-sponsored education programs in the country,” said Rachel Carlson, CEO of Guild Education, Walmart’s education benefit partner. “We’ve been proud partners in supporting Walmart’s goal of making their program accessible to all associates and aligned with advancement in the company or beyond. By expanding the program into healthcare fields, Walmart is ensuring associates can continue to pursue their dreams while making meaningful advancements in their careers.”
Walmart’s health and wellness strategy is continuing to evolve as the retailer focuses on making quality healthcare more affordable and accessible in the communities it serves. The retailer recently opened the Walmart Health center in Georgia, a prototype that works with partner providers to deliver affordable, transparent pricing for key health services for local customers, regardless of insurance status.