Walmart announced this week it would pay for its workers to enroll in college courses, online or on campus, to earn degrees in business or supply chain management. The New York Times reports full- and part-time Walmart workers can use the tuition subsidy to take courses at the University of Florida; Brandman University in Irvine, Calif.; and Bellevue University in Bellevue, Neb. The three universities were chosen because of their high graduation rates, particularly among part-time students, and their experience with those already in the workforce. Workers who take advantage of the tuition subsidy will not be obliged to work for Walmart after receiving their degrees. They will be required to pay $1 a day towards the classes.
Total Retail's Take: This is a smart move by Walmart as it seeks to attract and retain employees in a tightening labor market. With Walmart being the country's largest employer, a tuition subsidy could help send more people to college, which in the long run will benefit those workers and ultimately Walmart if they remain with the retailer. With its recent changes to its maternity and paternity policies and raising the base pay for employees (from $9 to $11 — still $4 less than competitor Target), Walmart has made strides to make it a more attractive place to work.