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Walmart Encourages Retail Workforce to Train for Healthcare Jobs

Analysis  |  By Steven Porter  
   September 24, 2019

As the retail giant looks to step deeper into the healthcare provider space, it's offering a path for employees to earn degrees in the growing field.

After opening a health center prototype earlier this month in search of a scalable model, Walmart has announced a new way for its employees to train for the types of healthcare jobs the company hopes to add.

All of the retailer's 1.5 million associates in the U.S. are eligible to apply for degree-granting health-related programs through Walmart's education benefit program, Live Better U, effective Tuesday, the company said.

That includes seven bachelor's degree programs and two career diplomas, all priced at $1 per day.

"Walmart aims to be the market leader in providing retail workers a path to careers in growing fields like healthcare," the company's senior vice president of associate experience, Drew Holler, said in a statement.

"We don't know of any other retailer in America that has a program that allows its associates the opportunity to achieve a degree in healthcare that can translate into a higher-paying job within the company or in the broader field," Holler added.

While the move could help Walmart reshape its workforce to meet the future needs of its rising strategic focus on healthcare services, it may also serve a more-immediate purpose. The company, which includes Sam's Club stores, operates more than 5,000 retail pharmacies, 3,000 vision centers, and 400 hearing centers.

The available training includes programs for pharmacy technicians and opticians, health science, health and wellness, healthcare management, and more. The participating universities include Purdue University Global, Southern New Hampshire University, Wilmington University, the University of Florida, Brandman University, and Bellevue University, according to a fact sheet.

The dozens of other education programs available through the Live Better U platform include options for associates seeking a high school diploma and language skills as well.

Related: Walmart Pilots Health Center, Pushing Deeper Into Provider Space Ripe for Disruption

Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: Provided / Walmart

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