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Cleared for Re-entry: Walmart Expands Partnership with Path Forward

Path Forward group

May 1, 2019
By Bobbie Grafeld, Vice President of People – Walmart Labs

Last year around this time I shared the exciting news of a program Walmart was launching in partnership with Path Forward. It was near and dear to my heart because it focused on creating training and career opportunities for a typically untapped talent pool that I was once a part of – women and men who have paused their careers to do things like raise children or care for family members, or those who have had to relocate for their spouses’ careers.

This year we are expanding and rolling out the Path Forward program across multiple locations including San Bruno, Sunnyvale, and Carlsbad, CA; Bentonville, AR; and Reston, VA. We are looking for up to 100 candidates (over triple the number in 2018!) across all locations to pursue roles in areas such as engineering, user experience, product management, and data science.

Similar to last year, the program will be open to women and men who have at least five years of professional experience and who took a career pause of at least two years for caregiving. This unique “returnship” program places an emphasis on learning and development and the gaining (and retraining) of skills, such as software engineering, product development, and more. In addition to dedicated professional development workshops, participants will have access to networking opportunities across the Walmart and Path Forward communities. After completing the four-month program, qualified candidates may also apply for available full-time employment opportunities at Walmart.

The 2018 cohort included more than 30 women working in engineering, user experience, product management, and data science for a four-month, paid returnship. Following the end of the program, about three quarters of the returnees accepted full-time roles with Walmart. We’re hopeful that this year we will have a similar success rate and bring even more amazing, full-time, diverse technical talent to Walmart Labs.

For people like Deborah Chin, Hagit Katzenelson and many others, Walmart’s Path Forward program represented an opportunity to refresh their skills, gain experience, demonstrate their professional talents and transition back into the workforce. Deborah joined Walmart Labs as a UX Designer after taking a two-and-a-half-year break to care for her child. She held a contract position as a teaching assistant after her daughter was born but participating in the Path Forward program led to a full-time position at Walmart, giving her the job stability she needed while doing a job she loves.

Similarly, Hagit is an experienced product manager who took a career break to care for a family member. She worked as a part-time product consultant and then on her own Android app before landing a position at Walmart Labs. During her time here, Hagit had the opportunity to work on one of Walmart’s most important emerging products – the Spark Delivery driver app for Online Grocery delivery. Now she is a product manager focused on mobile apps and last-mile delivery products.

The Path Forward program also helps shine a light on the span of opportunities you can find at Walmart. Our technologists work on creating seamless experiences for hundreds of millions of customers a day. Partnering with the team at Path Forward is another way we’re ensuring that the team that builds these capabilities is as diverse as our customers are.

Additional information and program applications can be found here.