Walmart Builds Out Education Program With Short-Term Classes for In-demand Skills

walmart lorraine stomski headshot
Lorraine Stomski is Walmart's Senior Vice President of Learning & Leadership

Walmart is bolstering its expansive learning and development offerings with a new suite of short-form programs, offering associates the chance to upskill in high-growth areas such as cybersecurity, software engineering, and data analytics. 

Walmart has partnered with edtech company Springboard to launch this latest branch of their learning and development program, Live Better U. By adding this new string to their bow, the retail giant hopes to boost associates’ career mobility within the company and equip their team members in competitive, in-demand skillsets. Springboard’s cohort-based programs are between 8 weeks to 9 months and combine 1-to-1 teaching with live, interactive group sessions. 

The company said that Walmart was drawn to partner with Springboard because of their track record for helping adult learners level up their skill sets, along with their programs' project-based, mentorship-driven structure. 

These new courses form part of the bigger L&D puzzle at Walmart. Since launching the Live Better U  program in 2018, the retailer has saved its associates approximately $333 million in tuition costs. 

Through the program, Walmart covers the total cost of college fees and other associated expenses. “More than 15,000 associates have graduated through Live Better U since we launched the program in 2018. Today, graduates are working in a variety of areas across our business, such as Walmart Global Tech or merchandising in our campus offices or serving as leaders in our stores and distribution centers,” Lorraine Stomski, Walmart’s senior vice president of learning and leadership told RIS News. “Some of our popular Live Better U education programs are bachelor’s degrees in business and supply chain management, leadership certificates, or our cyber security options.”

Investing in associates’ careers has pained dividends. Currently, enrollees in the LBU program are 2 times more likely to receive a promotion than non-participants and – even more crucially – four times more likely to remain with the company than non-participants, Stomski shares. 

Enrollment for Springboard classes began earlier this year, with programs expected to launch in April 2023.

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