Walmart is teaming up with Denver-based startup Guild Education to offer employees the chance to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business or supply-chain management. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Walmart offers employees new perk: cheap access to college

NEW YORK — Walmart is offering its employees a new perk: affordable access to a college degree.

America’s largest private employer, which in the past has helped its workers get their high school or equivalency degree, hopes the new benefit will help it recruit and retain higher quality entry-level employees in a tight U.S. labour market.

The company is teaming up with Denver-based startup Guild Education to offer employees the chance to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business or supply-chain management. It will cost a dollar a day at one of three non-profit universities with online programs that have had success working with adult learners: the University of Florida, Brandman University and Bellevue University. It plans to eventually expand to more types of degrees.

It will also offer college-prep classes for workers who need extra help. Walmart is subsidizing the cost of tuition, books and fees, eliminating the need for student loans.

Both full-time and part-time workers who have been with the company at least 90 days will be able to qualify, Walmart said. About 68,000 of Walmart’s 1.4 million U.S. employees are expected to enrol in the first five years, based on interest from its workers, said Julie Murphy, executive vice-president of people at Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart.

The move underscores how retailers and restaurant chains are under increasing pressure to improve the skills of their entry-level workers at a time when their jobs are getting more complicated due to the rise of online shopping, steeper competition from Amazon and more demanding shoppers.

The partnership with Guild Education, which was founded in 2015, goes beyond Walmart’s current program covering the cost of workers and eligible family members for earning a high school diploma or GED equivalent. The company also grooms managers at its Walmart Training Academy, and has a career program for entry level workers.

Guild Education works with other national chains, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Taco Bell and Lowe’s, on their employee education programs. But Rachel Carlson, CEO and co-founder of Guild Education, says its partnership with Walmart is unique in several ways, including its low upfront costs.

Walmart’s move puts it in the league of Starbucks, which three years ago began offering four years of tuition for an online college degree from Arizona State University.

Just Posted

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Privacy issue with online pot sales after legalization needs watching: experts

TORONTO — Buyers who have to provide personal information to purchase recreational… Continue reading

Range of reactions to possible holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

The federal government’s intention to enact a statutory holiday aimed at remembering… Continue reading

Wildfire smoke from B.C. gets in the way of mountain scenery for tourists

JASPER, Alta. — Smoke from wildfires that’s blanketing parts of Alberta does… Continue reading

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

The once meat-dominated world of fast-food and casual restaurants is starting to… Continue reading

Thousands to attend funeral service for officers killed in Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Hundreds of people have lined the route of a funeral… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month