Walmart is sending its employees to college in an effort to get them to stay with the company.
These employees can enroll and study at one of three non-profit schools: the University of Florida, Brandman University or Bellevue University. Online classes will be offered to give workers more flexibility.
Walmart already has a program that helps workers complete their high school education and take the GED. And major chains like Starbucks and Chipotle also have similar education programs for their employees.
Walmart has been trying to find new ways to keep their workers happy on the job. Earlier this year, it raised its starting wage rate for hourly U.S. employees to $11, while also expanding maternity and parental leave benefits.
The company estimates as many as 68,000 of its employees could initially sign up for the college program. Walmart has 1.5 million workers in the U.S.
While the company hasn’t disclosed how much this initiative will cost, employees will contribute $1 per day, for 365 days every year, as long as they’re enrolled. Walmart will cover the rest of the cost of the education.
Through this new college program, employees can earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in either business or supply chain management — more degree options are expected to be added in the future. Unlike other programs, Walmart doesn’t have a set minimum GPA requirement — employees simply need to pass their courses.
Julie Murphy, executive vice president of Walmart’s U.S. people division, explained on a call with members of the media that there’s also no penalty for those who choose to stop the program early. It’s designed to “give employees the confidence to learn and grow with Walmart,” she said.