Walmart Accelerates Efforts To Provide Associates With Skills To Fill 100,000 In-Demand Jobs

Feb. 22, 2024

Six associates pose for an image near the checkouts in a Walmart store.

Six years. Nearly half a billion dollars in tuition savings for associates. Walmart’s Live Better U (LBU) education benefit has given over 126,000 associates the opportunity to learn from top academic institutions, like the University of Arkansas, Purdue Global and Spelman College, so they can build brighter futures.

We launched LBU in 2018 as a $1 a day education benefit for associates and dropped the fee in 2021 to make learning more accessible. But we know we can do even more to help associates accelerate their careers.

That’s why we’re reimagining LBU to focus on skills that make associates more hirable for key roles within the company. Our goal is to help fast-track Walmart and Sam’s Club associates into approximately 100,000 in-demand jobs we expect to fill over the next three years.

This number represents jobs we’ve identified as critical to how we serve customers both today and in the future. This includes salaried management and hourly supervisor roles in our stores, clubs and supply chain facilities. We’re also focused on helping associates develop the skills to move into roles in technology, Health & Wellness, our private fleet of truck drivers and other growing parts of our company.

This approach will help us emphasize skills-based hiring as we remove college degree requirements for the majority of our roles.

For starters, we’ve more than doubled the number of short-form certificates and courses we offer to over 50 options. Associates are telling us they want shorter options, and for good reason. Our associates complete short-form certificates in just four months, on average. The quicker they learn new skills, the faster they can move up.

Some of the certificates we offer include frontline manager leadership, people and business leadership, data science, software development and project management. We’re even producing our own certificates, including a supply chain operations course created in tandem with the University of Arkansas.

Let’s be clear: college degrees are still valuable, and associates will still be able to earn them from prestigious institutions. We also continue to offer college start classes so associates can earn an initial semester of credit in a low-pressure environment. That said, we are adjusting the degrees we offer so they are targeted to specific skills and jobs where we believe a degree is the best education option. For example, we offer business-related degrees from the University of Arkansas, Purdue Global, Bellevue University and Southern New Hampshire, as well as degrees in supply chain, transportation and logistics management – just to name a few.

We want associates to have ultimate flexibility and control over their career, so we’re making it easy for them to earn college credit simply by attending training. Associates can earn up to six hours of credit, for example, just by attending four days of leadership training at one of the more than 200 Walmart Academy training facilities in the U.S. Our five-day Manager Academy classes in Bentonville, Arkansas, are worth up to nine hours. This gives them the ability to quickly earn both credit and certificates.

We’ve learned a lot since launching LBU by listening to associates, seeking their feedback and studying data. This new approach will allow us to fill in-demand jobs with talented Walmart and Sam’s Club associates at an even higher rate. 

We hope over the next five years that more employers take these big steps. It’s good for business, life-changing for associates and true to Walmart’s longstanding culture of growing our own, promoting from within and preparing them for the future of work.