Wal-Mart, Target provides free tuition for nearly 2 million workers

The pandemic economy is like a roller coaster, especially for service providers. As the business closed, they were first collectively fired, and now they find themselves in great demand because depressed consumers flock to restaurants and retailers.

In order to attract and retain workers in the retail industry, Walmart and Target recently launched a new program that will cover 100% of the costs associated with obtaining certain degrees, certificates, and diplomas at selected colleges and universities.

Whether full-time or part-time, their nearly 2 million employees can enjoy educational benefits. They are available on the first day of employment. Sam’s Club is part of the Wal-Mart empire, and its employees are also eligible to participate.

Both projects are managed by Guild Education, an education welfare company. Guild’s plan matches employers with training and education providers across the country.

Guild said that while raising wages is a way to attract workers, it is not as effective as education in the long run.

Guild spokesperson Brooke LaRue told The Penny Hoarder: “The U.S. labor force wants more-if there is no internal mobility or promotion channels, raising wages to $15 an hour will not have that big impact.” “Educational benefits are provided. Opportunities for growth and skill improvement will help workers obtain long-term career mobility and safety guarantees in their future jobs.”

Although Target and Walmart both work with Guild, the educational advantages of the two companies are quite different.

Here is how these two new programs work-what else you should keep in mind if you want to take advantage of them.

Tina Russell/Penny Hoarder

Target’s new debt-free education benefits

Starting in the fall of 2021, Target’s approximately 340,000 part-time and full-time employees in the United States are eligible to participate in its new debt-free education program. For new employees, after the plan takes effect, they can enjoy benefits from the first day of employment.

Target employees are eligible to obtain 100% free GED, diplomas, certificates, associate degrees and bachelor degrees in certain subjects through Guild partner institutions.

Eligible subject areas include:

  • Business management and operations
  • information Technology
  • computer Science
  • Design and more

These courses are taught by more than 40 non-profit and public schools, colleges and universities, such as:

  • Brandman University
  • Cornell University
  • Oregon State University
  • Rio Salado College
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Denver
  • University of Florida
  • And the historic black colleges and universities (HBCU) Morehouse College and Paul Quinn College

Target will also cover all costs associated with these programs, such as textbooks and course fees. In addition, free English language courses and training camps (industry term for continuing education) related to business-related topics are provided.

For pre-approved educational programs outside of the Guild school network, Target will provide tuition subsidies of up to $5,250 for non-master’s programs and up to $10,000 for master’s programs. Welfare is paid to the school in advance to limit student out-of-pocket expenses.

Shoppers go in and out of Walmart.
Tina Russell/Penny Hoarder

Walmart’s new life, better U education benefits

Through the Live Better U (LBU) program, Walmart has been providing education assistance to the American workforce through Guild Education since 2018. However, the initial benefit was limited to 50 projects in a few universities, and although it largely subsidized the cost of education, employees still had to pay $1 a day.

LBU has since expanded its scale, and starting on August 16, Wal-Mart will cancel the $1 daily fee.

Once the change occurs, all employees of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club in the United States (approximately 1.5 million laborers) will be able to get 100% free university tuition in more than 60 courses in 10 academic institutions.

Eligible academic subjects include:

  • business Administration
  • cyber security
  • Health and wellness
  • supply chain
  • Technology

Walmart’s academic partners are:

  • Brandman University
  • Johnson & Wales University
  • Path flow
  • Payne Foster
  • Purdue University Global
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Denver
  • Voxy engine
  • Wilmington University

According to the plan announcement, Wal-Mart will also pay for textbooks and other tuition related to English language courses and certain “business needs” trade skills and certificate courses. All LBU benefits can be used on the first day of employment.

Additional information about the guild education program

Although specific schools and subject areas may vary from employer to employer, all Guild Education courses operate in a similar way.

LaRue said that all students must maintain a certain GPA in order to continue their courses for free. GPA requirements vary by course. She also said that the vast majority of students complete their courses online, but if you happen to live near one of the institutions that work with your employer, you can choose face-to-face courses if you want.

Online learning is not for everyone. If you have trouble staying motivated or have a history of poor academic performance, you should consider face-to-face learning-under safe conditions.

To help solve this problem, all Guild Education students are assigned a coach who can help with things such as registering for courses, balancing work and school, and making career plans.

Target vs. Walmart: Who won the battle of interests?

Target and Wal-Mart are currently in a people-oriented game to attract new employees while also preventing existing employees from coming to the door step by step during the big resignation.

For those who are comfortable working on the front line, this is a great place to work. Wages and benefits are finally beginning to make meaningful gains. It only takes a pandemic to urge some employers to take action.

In addition to new educational benefits, Wal-Mart and Target both increased wages during the early stages of the pandemic.

In June 2020, Target announced a company-wide minimum wage of $15. In February 2021, Wal-Mart responded with an increase in “average salary” to $15, but these changes were not company-wide. It raised the wages of approximately 425,000 front-line workers to US$13 to US$19 per hour, while maintaining the minimum wage at US$11.

In terms of education and welfare, there are also clear winners.

“From an employee’s point of view, Target provides the most comprehensive plans and products we have ever seen,” Guild Education CEO Rachel Carlson said at a conference. Recent broadcast CNBC’s “Exchange”.

When employers compete with each other to provide better wages and benefits, workers are the real winners.

Adam Hardy is a journalist and editor based in St. Petersburg, Florida. He was previously a full-time writer for The Penny Hoarder.

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