Walmart accelerates employee skills-based training for in-demand jobs

Walmart store employees
Walmart is looking to help fast-track employees into in-demand jobs throughout its operations.

Walmart is doubling down on skills-based training as a pathway for employees’ future success in the company.

The retail giant and nation’s largest private employer said it is reimagining its LBU (Live Better U) employee education benefit to focus on skills that will make its employees more hirable for key roles within the company. The chain has set a goal to help fast-track Walmart and Sam’s Club employees into into approximately 100,000 in-demand jobs that it expects to fill over the next three years.

The number represents jobs the retailer has identified as critical in how it serves customers both today and in the future. The jobs include salaried management and hourly supervisor roles in Walmart’s stores, clubs and supply chain facilities.  

“We’re also focused on helping associates develop the skills to move into roles in technology, health & wellness, our private fleet of truck drivers and other growing parts of our company,” said Lorraine Stomski, senior VP, associate learning & leadership, Walmart.

To achieve the new goal, Walmart has more than doubled the number of short-form certificates and courses its offers to more than 50 options. 

“Associates are telling us they want shorter options, and for good reason,”said Stromski. “Our associates complete short-form certificates in just four months, on average. The quicker they learn new skills, the faster they can move up.”

Some of the certificates offered include frontline manager leadership, people and business leadership, data science, software development and project management. The retailer is also producing its own certificates, including a supply chain operations course created in tandem with the University of Arkansas.

The move to emphasize skills-based hiring comes after Walmart announced in September that it had removed college degree requirements for a majority of its jobs.

 “Let’s be clear: College degrees are still valuable, and associates will still be able to earn them from prestigious institutions,” said Stomski. 

Walmart said it will continue to offer “college start” classes so employees can earn an initial semester of credit in a low-pressure environment.   But it is adjusting the degrees it offers to target specific skills and jobs where it believes a degree is the best education option.  For example, it offer business-related degrees as well as degrees in supply chain, transportation and logistics management and more.

“We want associates to have ultimate flexibility and control over their career, so we’re making it easy for them to earn college credit simply by attending training,” Stomski said. “Associates can earn up to six hours of credit, for example, just by attending four days of leadership training at one of the more than 200 Walmart Academy training facilities in the U.S. “

In addition, the company’s five-day Manager Academy classes in Bentonville, Ark., are worth up to nine hours. 

 “This gives them the ability to quickly earn both credit and certificates,” Stomski added.

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