Opinion: Dollar-a-Day College Plan for Employees Might Be the Best Deal Walmart's Ever Offered

"One of the hard truths about the American economy is this: In a world of hyper-competitiveness, there is constant pressure to improve, to innovate, to find new ways to produce more for less money. For workers, that means there is a constant pressure to develop new skills or sharpen existing ones in order to perform at a higher level," according to an editorial in The Dallas Morning News.

"The net result is twofold. This country has developed a highly competitive and dynamic economy. But for many workers, the price of that is the constant risk of falling behind. If they don't evolve their skillsets, there will be a gap between their abilities and the skills needed by competitive employers.

So many American workers need to find a way to work through the costs of higher education and the time commitments involved in gaining marketable skills.

To that end, there is an important trend underway that may allow a significant number of workers to gain critical skills. Namely, employers are creating opportunities for their workers to go to school at little cost to themselves while keeping their jobs.

The most recent example is Walmart. The retailer is the nation's largest employer and is launching an initiative to enable employees to pursue online degrees in business or supply chain management. Employees would have to pay $365 — or $1 a day — as they pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree at one of three schools: the University of Florida, Brandman University in Irvine, Calif. and Bellevue University in Bellevue, Neb.

Walmart would pick up the balance of the price tag after employees exhaust government grants and scholarships. Thus employees would be spared crushing student loan debt, and Walmart would get better trained employees.

The possible gain is not small on either side. As anyone who has visited a Walmart warehouse knows, the retailer is relentless in searching for efficiencies. Employees who can find even small gains in managing the company's extensive supply chains will prove to be the backbone of the company's success."

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Publication Date: 6/11/2018

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