The retail giant Wal-Mart is already the top employer in many states across the nation. From shopping cart wranglers to greeters to stock room workers, Wal-Mart operates like a big well-oiled machine, inviting in thousands of part-time and full-time workers to help keep it efficient and prosperous. Now, Wal-Mart is offering the community more than just employment opportunities and bargain bin prices ñ it also offers employees a chance to earn their college degrees.
That’s right ñ Wal-Mart employees who perform their job duties responsibly and admirably ñ whether those duties are to manage a shift of workers or to restock the shelves in the Home & Garden aisle ñ can earn as much as 45 percent of their required college credits for an associate or bachelor’s degree, according to an article in the Washington Post. The school awarding those college credits is American Public University (APU), an online school based in West Virginia. This new way of earning college credits is an effort to boost the amount of college degree-holding employees within the Wal-Mart company nationwide, as well as to simply encourage higher education. The program endeavors to encourage its employees to pursue a college degree, whether they intend to continue working at Wal-Mart after earning a diploma or not.
Of course, there are rules as to what the work credits can count towards. Most of the credits awarded are applicable as business-related credits, such as retail shipping, receiving, ethics on the job site, commercial safety, and finance fundamentals. These credits can either be used towards a degree in retail management, which would be useful for those looking to advance from their hourly positions to that of a store manager, or the credits can be used to satisfy the elective requirements for other majors at APU. Wal-Mart employees are even eligible for a 15 percent tuition discount. To qualify for the work credits, employees must be working full-time with the company and have been employed for at least a year. Part-time employees must have been working for at least three years with Wal-Mart, and all of the workers interested in taking advantage of the work-for-college-credit program must have positive reviews from coworkers and managers.
The opportunity to earn college credits while working will not only give students a steady flow of income to help pay for school, but it will also cut down the amount of time and work needed to earn a degree. This will undoubtedly encourage many Wal-Mart employees to finally accomplish their dreams of holding a college degree.
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