There is a quote from the late Bishop Desmond Tutu that says, “There comes a point where we need to stop pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” Community partnerships like the one we have with Unlock Potential (UP) are helping us do just that.
When Sam’s Club started our partnership with UP in 2022, we knew how important it was to get it right. UP is a groundbreaking youth hiring program that connects at-risk youth with major employers. By creating career pathways to prevent incarceration, Unlock Potential is working to disrupt intergenerational cycles of poverty and put young people on a positive path as they begin adult life.
While we have intentionally started small, with just a few pilot programs in Texas, we are already beginning to see its impact on participants like 19-year-old Jalyssa Zaragoza, who says the 10-week program not only introduced her to Sam’s Club career opportunities, it also provided her with a sense of belonging and purpose. The program also helped Jalyssa develop real-world job and life skills that she can take anywhere – though we’re excited to share that after graduating from the program, Jalyssa is continuing her career journey with Sam’s Club!
Live Better U
For associate Kelsey Williams, Live Better U (LBU), offers her the flexibility to complete her degree while working full-time and without taking on student loan debt. The Auburn-based associate is actively pursuing her Pharmacy Technician Diploma and is excited about the potential of taking a pharmacy role at a local Sam’s Club or Walmart upon graduation.
There are so many great stories from LBU participants who are chasing their dreams while continuing their careers. Through LBU, full and part-time associates can access more than 70 degree and certificate programs from 26 of the nation’s leading academic partners, with Walmart and Sam’s Club covering 100% of the cost of tuition and books. In the last year alone, more than 830 club associates have graduated or completed their program, and of those, more than 480 have already been promoted.
As with all areas of the business, we’re constantly listening to associates and looking for opportunities to make LBU even better. For instance, we’ve learned the majority of associates in LBU are enrolled in short form learning programs, and we’re developing new ways to map the valuable skills gained from these programs to more career opportunities.
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