Walmart to expand its talent pipeline with a debt-free college plan for high schoolers
Walmart is looking to take the lead in the competition for talent with a new employment pitch to high school students that includes flexible work schedules and the opportunity to earn a college degree debt-free.
The retailer announced yesterday steps it was taking to recruit and retain high schoolers including:
- Job scheduling that maintains the same work days/hours for up to 13 weeks;
- Free prep for SAT or ACT tests;
- Up to seven hours of free college credit through Walmart’s Live Better U’s College Start program;
- Debt-free college degrees in business, supply management or technology from six nonprofit universities: Bellevue University, Brandman University, Purdue University Global, Southern New Hampshire University, University of Florida and Wilmington University.
“We are committed to creating a workforce of lifelong learners and instilling in them excitement for retail and a passion for serving customers,” said Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., in a statement. “Access to higher education is one way to grow your career. So, in addition to providing people with an entry to the workforce and access to our on-the-job training, I’m proud Walmart also offers our associates programs like Live Better U to help them achieve their educational goals.”
Walmart is stepping up its recruitment of younger people in a tight labor market where many teenagers don’t even look for jobs. Fewer than 25,000 of Walmart’s workforce are currently enrolled in high school. Speaking on a call with the media, Julie Murphy, executive vice president, people of Walmart U.S., said the company has been challenged to create shift schedules that work with the academic and extracurricular activities that many teens are engaged in.
Walmart launched Live Better U last year and accepted more than 7,500 associates into the program, ahead of the chain’s expectations, during that time.
- Walmart Adds 14 Tech Degrees, Certificated to Live Better U College Offering, Expands Debt-Free College to High Schoolers and Creates Graduation Bonuses – Walmart
- Walmart is going after high school students in war for talent – CNBC
- Walmart looks to win talent war with new education benefit – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see as the biggest barriers to teenagers working in retail industry jobs? Will Walmart’s decision to extend the benefits of its Live Better U program to high school students help it gain a significant edge in recruiting teenagers?