Best Practices
June 17, 2010

Earn a Degree While on the Job – Yes, it is Possible!

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It is the ideal situation—work a full-time or part-time job and gain a college degree at the same time. No need to travel to a separate campus—many of your lessons take place right where you work. Some of your teachers are your supervisors, and the lessons you learn from class work are directly applicable to your daily job.

As the top retailer in America, Walmart is forging a path as a leader of businesses that are offering their employees a postsecondary degree program. Through a partnership with American Public University (APU), Walmart’s Lifelong Learning Program will allow employees of Walmart and Sam’s Club to earn Associate’s or Bachelor’s degrees in subjects such as retail management while fulfilling their job requirements. These degrees are transferable regardless of whether or not the employee chooses to remain with Walmart long-term. On-the-job training can count up to a maximum of 45% of the credit hours required for a postsecondary degree, and the rest of the hours are earned through online classes. Online coursework provides students with a great deal of flexibility in terms of how and when they complete the required work—a huge benefit for adults currently in the workforce.

Perhaps most attractive to employees interested in gaining a degree while working is the fact that it will come at a significantly lower cost through the program. Every Walmart and Sam’s Club employee enrolled in classes at APU will receive a grant from APU equal to 15% of their tuition. Additionally, Walmart is investing $50 million over the next three years to provide tuition assistance and other services to in-need employees.

“This is important because it reflects the kind of company we are -- a company that says, anyone who wants to learn, who wants to grow with us, who is willing to work hard to get a college degree, can do that. And Walmart will be there to help make it happen,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, Walmart vice chairman, in an address to Walmart associates. “It is a reflection of our culture of opportunity, but also our deeper belief in the promise of living better. We believe in extending that mission to our customers, to our communities, and to our associates.”

Read more about the Lifelong Learning Program online.