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The Walmart Approach to Education

Sam Walton started Walmart back in 1962 and, as a graduate from the University of Missouri, he knows the value of a quality education. If he were alive today, he would be excited to see the latest educational venture and employee benefit provided by his corporation.

Walmart recently partnered up with American Public University, one of the nation’s largest for-profit online education providers, to bring about a new resource to it’s employees… an opportunity to obtain a college degree at a discount price.

At first glance, this may not seem like that big of a deal. Corporations around the world are constantly providing some sort of educational benefit to their employees. However, how many of these corporations have 1.4 million employees? Not only does Walmart have this many employees, they estimate that 700,000 of these individuals only have a high school degree or equivalent.

Using this astounding number of potential students, Walmart was able to broker a deal with APU that will automatically provide each of it’s employees a 15% discount on tuition rates. As an added bonus, Walmart is sweetening the deal by providing it’s employees with an additional $50 million dollars, over three years, in tuition assistance to all employees that participate.

Walmart provided the following announcement about the new program to employees at an early morning meeting that had over 4000 in attendance:

“It’s important because it reflects the kind of company we are,” Eduardo Castro-Wright, who heads Walmart’s operations in the United States, told the employees. “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.’ ”

It is not real clear how many employees will be taking advantage of this educational opportunity but in order to qualify for participation an employee either has to have worked full-time for a period of a year or part-time for three years. Satisfactory progress on job evaluations is also a necessity.

So, if you have been thinking about a career change and want to work somewhere that supports the continued education of it’s employees, you may want to take a look at Walmart.

If you would like to learn more about Walmart’s commitment to education or apply for this benefit, feel free to visit this link for more information.

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Ford Motor Corp. Commits To Tuition Benefit


Unless you have been living under a rock, you should be aware that the auto industry in the U.S. has been struggling greatly over the course of the past couple of years. Fortunately, through government bailout funds and a recovering economy, the auto makers are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Having seen this “light”, Ford Motor Corporation has recently made the decision to reinstate a tuition benefit to their white-collar (administrative) employees. Apparently, through negotiations with the UAW, this benefit was dropped for all employees during the 2008-2009 fiscal years. The UAW and Ford Motor Corporation are currently in negotiations to restore the same benefit to the blue-collar (unionized line workers) employees.

The full impact in dollars of this benefit resurrection is not clear at this time but as a college administrator, I can tell you that I have seen a fair number of students over the years receive funding from the Ford Motor Corporation Employee Benefit program.

Kudos to Ford Motor Corporation for recognizing the importance of education and for stepping up to the plate to increase access to learning for their employees. If you are an employee of Ford that is eligible for this benefit, I would recommend taking advantage of it as soon as possible. You never know when the program may lose financial support and be suspended yet again. Here is the application form for the tuition benefit to get you started.

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