Nearly 30 local Walmart associates were recognized at the grand opening of the retailer’s first training academy in Columbia on December 1, at 1326 Bush River Road. These associates are the first graduating class from the new South Carolina training facility.
As part of the celebration, grant checks will be presented to the Columbia Police Department, the Columbia Fire Department, South Carolina Lions Charitable Services (SCLCS), Harvest Hope Food Bank and Columbia High Junior ROTC.
Academies are a dedicated facility located in, or adjacent to, a Walmart Supercenter where hourly supervisors and department managers will receive two weeks of hands-on training that combines both the classroom and the sales floor.
“Our training academies help provide associates with the skills they need to succeed and advance, while creating a better and more consistent customer experience,” said Sean Real, regional general manager, Walmart. “Skills training increases productivity, confidence and knowledge which leads to greater job satisfaction, personal and professional growth and helps make working at Walmart a smart career choice.”
Walmart has created a new end-to-end training program called Pathways for associates at all levels of store operations, from entry-level to Regional General Manager. Hourly frontline supervisors and department managers will attend a dedicated two-week training program at the academy facility as part of Pathways.
- The first week is dedicated to retail fundamentals and gaining core retail skills.
- The second week is dedicated to training on the sales floor to gain the knowledge and skills to run the specific department where the associate works.
- Areas of study include leadership, merchandising, operations, technology and customer service, in addition to the department-specific training.
- Academy graduates will have the skills and confidence to run outstanding departments, lead people and deliver a great customer experience.
Walmart plans to build approximately 200 academies in the U.S. by the end of 2017. Each academy will train associates from approximately 25 nearby stores. Benefits include:
- Making training more accessible to more associates. By being closer to where people work and live, associates can be home each night rather than being away from home for two weeks of training.
- Taking associates out of their home store so they can focus solely on training for two weeks while still utilizing a real-life Walmart sales floor as a training environment.
- Training more than 140,000 associates a year.
Each academy will have its own team of approximately 14 associates with retail operations experience to lead the training. All academy stores go through a rigorous auditing process to make sure they are able to deliver the teaching, training and development that associates should receive at the academy.