Walmart associates in Canada will now have access to the company’s Live Better U education program, the retailer announced May 25.
Since 2021, Walmart has paid 100% of the costs, including tuition and books, for its associates through the program. That move prompted a 66% increase in enrollment year-over-year, according to Walmart.
The company also announced that University of Arkansas — in the state Walmart was founded — will take part in the Live Better U partnership, joining universities such as University of Arizona, University of Denver, Bellevue University and Purdue University Global.
“First, over the past five years, the company has saved associates nearly half a billion dollars in tuition costs, reflecting our commitment to create a path for every associate to learn and grow,” the announcement reads.
Debt-free college programs have taken off, particularly with big retailers and manufacturers, as an attractive benefit. Lowe’s, PepsiCo and Tyson have all partnered with Guild Education in the last few years to offer degree programs to their workers. These programs could play an important role in improving job outcomes overall for young adults, a recent Georgetown University report said.
Learning opportunities remain a key factor in the job hunt for younger workers, especially, a LinkedIn analysis from 2022 showed. And even as potential recession looms large, studies have shown that focusing on worker development can give employers an edge in a complex market.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified a Guild client. The provider works with Lowe’s, PepsiCo and Tyson, among others.