On August 16th, Walmart started covering 100% of college tuition costs for their full and part-time US-based employees. Shortly thereafter, Target announced plans to join Walmart in offering employees the opportunity of a debt-free education. Together, Walmart and Target employ hundreds of thousands of US citizens, making quite an impact in the accessibility of education and setting a standard for kinder employment nationwide.
Walmart first launched its employee education benefits package in 2018. However, the program which used to cost a dollar a day to participate in is now entirely free for all full and part-time US Walmart workers. Partnering with 10 different schools, including the University of Arizona and Southern New Hampshire University, Walmart has around 28,000 employees currently enrolled in their education program.
“We feel that eliminating the dollar-a-day investment removes the financial barriers to enrollment, and it will increase access,” Lorraine Stomski, senior vice president of learning and leadership at Walmart, told reporters.
Furthermore, according to Tanks Good News, “With the new plan, Walmart intends to invest nearly $1 billion over the next five years in career training and development for employees;” a pretty incredible and kind commitment!
Target’s Education Benefits
Soon after Walmart made its announcement, Target followed suit with its own plans to support employees seeking higher education by covering costs of tuition and textbooks. According to Tanks Good News, “More than 340,000 Target employees will be able to choose from approximately 250 programs at more than 40 schools and universities across the country.”
Target’s chief human resources officer, Melissa Kremer, explained Target’s motivation to offer educational benefits to employees, stating “Target employs team members at every life stage and helps our team learn, develop and build their skills, whether they’re with us for a year or a career. A significant number of our hourly team members build their careers at Target, and we know how many would like to pursue additional education opportunities.” Kremer continues, “We don’t want the cost to be a barrier for anyone, and that’s where Target can step in to make education accessible for everyone.”
Taking their mission a step further, Target also plans to pay “up to $5,250 annually for sub-masters degrees and up to $10,000 for master’s degrees each year.”
A Kinder Kind of Employment
As the nation continues to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic, many businesses have found themselves struggling to hire and retain employees. While people are still recovering from a tough year, many find themselves hesitant to rejoin the workforce. Seeing employers take matters into their own hands and choose to promote a kinder kind of employment has been a refreshing turn of events. Employees deserve to be compensated for their hard work, even more so when risking their health and wellbeing working through a pandemic. On that note, shout out to Walmart and Target for leading the way!