Walmart Shareholders' Meeting 2010
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
(General Meeting Comments)
It IS a competitive marketplace out there.
That means we need to ensure we have the TALENT TO COMPETE IN ANY ENVIRONMENT and ANY ECONOMY.
Providing our associates with the training and skills to remain competitive in any economy has always been one of our core strengths.
As Sam Walton said “I see... educating, training, and involving our associates as being the major advantage for Walmart.”
That belief lies at the center of our culture of opportunity—a culture based on recognizing the value every associate brings to this company...and in return ...extending every opportunity we can to help our associates grow.
Not just because it is good for our company, but because we CARE about associates and their development. We want to provide you with even more ways, and faster ways, to grow and succeed with us.
In the last few months, we have done a couple of things to help you do that. The new structure Bill introduced earlier this year is one step. The new “one team” structure is already helping associates more easily navigate the path to leadership positions with Walmart.
Our Develop to Lead Initiative is another example. Through this program, managers are working to build new leaders for our future by sharing their knowledge and capabilities with other associates.
Today I’m pleased to announce yet another exciting, new step to create more opportunities for you to grow with this company.
Today we are launching the Lifelong Learning program, a program that will make it MORE AFFORDABLE and MORE CONVENIENT for you to go to college and earn a college degree.
Your leadership team has worked with American Public University, a nationally and regionally accredited online university, to make it possible for you to earn college credit for your formal training and job experience at Walmart. That translates into money and time saved as you work toward a degree.
And let me emphasize, it’s a degree that can benefit you not just in your Walmart career, but wherever you choose to go in life. This is not just about learning for Walmart, but learning for life.
From talking to you over the last year, we know that when it comes to education...flexibility is important to you. You want to be able to take classes at times that work for you and your family’s schedules.
So our team has designed a program that will enable you to do just that.
Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. associates will be able to take advantage of APU’s online format. You can sign up for courses when you are ready...and take classes from a home computer...at a time that works for you.
You’ve also told us that affordability is important to you. So every Walmart and Sam’s Club associate who enrolls in this program will receive a grant from American Public University that will save them 15 percent off the cost of tuition.
And to support you in your efforts, the company will be contributing up to $50 million over the next three years for tuition assistance and a range of education tools.
I know you’ll have a lot of questions in the days ahead as you return to your facilities. And your HR leaders will be available to answer those questions for you.
In closing, I’d like to just step back and reflect on how important I think this program is.
It’s important NOT because we think or expect every Walmart associate will do this. Walmart is and will always be a place where your talent and hard work will take you as far as you want to go. College degree or no college degree.
It’s important because it reflects the kind of company we are...A company that says, “Anyone who wants to learn...who wants to grow with us...who is willing to work hard to get a college degree...CAN DO THAT. And Walmart will be there to help make it happen.”
It is a reflection of our culture of opportunity, but also our deeper belief in the promise of living better. We believe in extending that mission to our customers, to our communities, and to you— our associates.
Thank you for being a part of our mission. And thank you for all that you do for our customers and our company each and every day.