$600,000 Donation Jumpstarts Careers in Retail

Contribution from the Wal-Mart Foundation to NorthWest Arkansas Community College Supports New Degree with Emphasis in the Retail Industry


BENTONVILLE, Ark., Oct. 9, 2007 – NorthWest Arkansas Community College today announced it has received a $600,000 contribution from the Wal-Mart Foundation to support the inaugural year for the school’s newly-created degree in business management with a retail emphasis.  The associate of applied science degree will provide students with a foundation in basic business principles and practices with a focus on retail management, markets and consumers.

Within the degree package, enrolled students will have the option of pursuing four separate certificates including retail management, business ethics, quantitative analysis and communications.  Completion of all four certificates will earn the student an associate of applied science degree in business management, retail option.  Classes begin with the spring semester in January 2008.  Registration begins November 12 and ends January 15, 2008.  Most classes will be available online, allowing students in areas outside of Northwest Arkansas to participate in the program.
 
”Expanding affordable educational opportunities is something we care a great deal about at Wal-Mart,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation.  “By enhancing higher education, we can help people achieve economic success.  This results in individuals and families living better – something Wal-Mart cares a great deal about.” 

McKenna also noted the retail and business management certificate and associate degree program builds a foundation for a career in the retail industry not just at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club, but for retailers across the country.

Employment in the retail sector is widely accessible and career paths are as diverse and creative as the industry itself.  Retail provides career opportunities in fields that range from design, real estate, merchandising and sales to marketing, human resources, finance, and information technology.  The NWACC program is designed to appeal to those beginning their retail career and those with work experience looking for opportunities to develop their business and retail knowledge. 

“NorthWest Arkansas Community College is a regional leader in providing quality, affordable educational programs and services to area citizens,” said Dr. Becky Paneitz, president of NWACC.  “Our intention with this program is to provide individuals with affordable opportunities to acquire general education and develop skills applicable to the retail industry.”

Students interested in learning more about the retail and business management program can find additional information at www.nwacc.edu or by calling 479-986-4070.

Last year, Wal-Mart donated more than $57 million nationwide in support of educational initiatives, including support for local schools at the store level and through its Teacher of the Year program, one of the largest teacher recognition programs in the country.  The company also recognizes more than 7,000 outstanding high school seniors and company associates annually through its scholarship programs, last year awarding more than $8 million to deserving students.  Recognized as the largest corporate cash contributor in America, in 2006 the company’s charitable giving totaled more than $270 million in financial and in-kind donations to various charitable organizations and causes.

About Northwest Arkansas Community College
NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) is a comprehensive, public two-year college that serves and strengthens the community through learning for living.  One of the fastest-growing community colleges in the Midwest, NWACC posted a 12.7% increase in credit enrollment for fall 2007 totaling more than 6,500 students. Non-credit student enrollment is nearly 7,500 students for the academic year.  A recent economic impact study showed that 95 percent of NWACC students work in Northwest Arkansas after completing their coursework.

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com.  The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally.  Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to local communities in the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmartstores.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.

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