WASHINGTON – College graduates face many challenges finding jobs once they graduate, but Walmart is helping the next generation of professionals overcome that hurdle with a new program that places college graduates in store manager roles that pay more than $200,000 per year.
The retail giant announced a new College2Career program for college graduates and current students within 12 months of graduation. According to Walmart, the program begins this summer and gives college graduates the opportunity to become store managers.
Walmart said in a statement that the new program combines classroom training, hands-on experience and one-on-one mentorship with leaders across the organization. Top performers in the program are offered the role of “emerging coach” with a starting annual salary of $65,000.
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Top “emerging coaches” will move into leadership positions within two years with the potential to earn over $200,000. According to Walmart, managers earned an average of $210,000 in 2021.
A Walmart spokesperson told FOX Business on Monday that about 600 recent college graduates and more than 300 current students have enrolled in the program.
Walmart’s announcement of the new executive recruiting program comes amid a 3.6% U.S. unemployment rate despite labor statistics pointing to employers hiring 428,000 new workers in April.
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Walmart has invested in career development initiatives to help students gain valuable skills and experience to propel them into careers within the organization upon graduation.
Their internship program is for undergraduates and masters students to learn skills and build careers at Walmart in supply chain, finance, technology, merchandise, and HR. Walmart said the internship program is expected to grow 30% from last year. Their goal is to ensure that most of their interns move on to full-time jobs within the organization upon graduation.
In March, Walmart created an eight-week program for college employees trying to graduate by providing training and skills development in cybersecurity and merchandising. Once an employee completes the program and graduates from college, they are eligible for a full-time office position at Walmart.
Last year, the retail giant launched the Live Better U (LBU) educational program. About 1.5 million part-time and full-time Walmart and Sam’s Club associates in the United States can earn college degrees and learn business skills without worrying about college debt.
Since the LBU program launched in 2018, more than 52,000 Walmart employees have participated in the program and 8,000 have graduated to date.
The LBU program was created around research data on what helps boost competitive rates among working adult students. Walmart’s original program took a $1-a-day approach, where employees set aside $1 a day from their paycheck to help pay for their education. Walmart is committing $1 billion over the next five years to career-focused training and development, FOX 5 New York reported.
FOX 5 New York, FOX 2 San Francisco and FOX Business contributed to this story. This story was reported from Washington, DC