As part of the company's five-year, $100 million Retail Opportunity Initiative, grants were awarded to three organizations working to create pathways designed to help frontline employees in retail and related sectors gain new skills and advance their careers. Grantees include the Foundation for California Community Colleges, which was awarded nearly $2.4 million by the company to partner with the California Community College system on a flexible, high-quality, affordable learning program for working adults, and edX.org, which will receive $1 million to launch the MicroBachelors program, a "stackable" series of courses focused on career-relevant knowledge and twenty-first century skills. In addition, the Walmart Foundation awarded $250,000 to Code for America in support of that organization's efforts to explore the role government technology systems can play in improving access to quality jobs in the digital age and identify opportunities where technology can improve outcomes for job seekers.
The company also announced an expansion of its education benefit — a program that subsidizes the cost to Walmart associates of affordable, high-quality associate's and bachelor's degrees in business or supply chain management — to Walmart U.S. eCommerce associates.
"We're committed to creating a stronger learning and training ecosystem to help workers advance and supporting some of our nation's most innovative launch pads in higher education and training," said Julie Gehrki, vice president of philanthropy at Walmart, "Through work with organizations like the Foundation for California Community Colleges, Code for America, and edX.org, we can help make training and education more accessible and affordable for working adults so they advance their careers."