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Walmart expands reach of employee education program

Walmart Canada Live Better U
Walmart is broadening access to Live Better U.

Walmart is making its Live Better U educational initiative available to employees outside the U.S. and adding a new partner university.

This year, Walmart associates in Canada will be eligible to participate in Live Better U, and the University of Arkansas will join the program’s academic partner list.

Launched in 2018 in partnership with education benefits management company Guild and steadily expanded in the years since, Live Better U is designed to provide the 1.5 million Walmart and Sam’s Club associates in the U.S. free access to educational and career-building resources, such as 100% payment of college tuition and books starting on the first day of full-time or part-time employment.

Offerings available at the University of Arkansas via Live Better U will include three bachelor’s degrees in supply chain management, marketing, and general business; as well as short-form programs in areas such as data science and purchasing fundamentals. Registration opens on June 20, 2023 for these classes. The University of Arkansas will become Live Better U’s 26th academic partner.

According to Walmart, in the past five years, the company has saved associates nearly $500 million in tuition costs, more than 104,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club associates have participated in Live Better U in the U.S. The company says that when it removed the initial $1 a day fee for associates in 2021, it saw a 66% increase in enrollment year-over-year.

Live Better U offerings now include more than 70 programs, including programs added to support growth in high-demand areas such as supply chain. In March 2023, Walmart launched a new collaboration with Springboard, a provider of online mentor- and instructor-led training programs, to offer tailored upskilling and reskilling courses in data analytics, software development, and data-driven strategic thinking.

“Live Better U is just one ingredient in the culture of learning and opportunity at Walmart,” Lorraine Stomski, senior VP, associate learning & leadership, Walmart, said in a corporate blog post. “Whether it’s a part-time associate who wants to earn a degree, a supply chain associate looking to become a Walmart driver, or a store manager who wants to take their leadership skills to the next level, Walmart is creating a path of opportunity for every associate.”

"The University of Arkansas is thrilled to partner with Walmart and Guild to provide associates in our home state and across the country access to transformational learning programs to help advance their careers," said Charles Robinson, chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. 

“Walmart has been a trailblazer for creating career opportunity, helping to set the bar for employers across the country,” said Rachel Romer, CEO and co-founder of Guild. “Over the past five years, our partnership has provided associates with life-changing access to education, skilling, and career mobility, helping to propel their personal and professional growth at Walmart. We’re inspired by the impact we’ve made together through Live Better U and all the potential the future holds.” 

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