August 13, 2020
At a Glance
To Recover Stronger from the devastating impacts of COVID-19 and the 2020 recession requires employers to rethink the role they can play in upskilling and reskilling employees.
The COVID-19 crisis has increased pressure for people with little to no college education. This is due partly to the challenging reality that a majority of open jobs require education beyond high school. In an article on Diplomatic Courier, Gayatri Agnew, Senior Director for Opportunity at Walmart.org, and Ellie Bertani, Senior Director of Associate Experience, Walmart U.S, shares how Walmart’s LiveBetter U program is helping associates learn and earn skills and credentials to help them Recover Stronger from the devastating impacts of COVID-19 and the new labor market the pandemic has created.
LiveBetter U offers company associates the opportunity to earn over 100 in-demand degrees or credentials debt-free, while also receiving ongoing support from a personal coach to help people balance work, family, and school obligations. As of July 2020, Walmart has over 16,000 active students within LiveBetter U and has already served over 25,000 students in the program’s first two and a half years. It has saved its associates over $52 million in student debt to date.
The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the need for rapid evolution of U.S. education and workforce development systems. In the article, Agnew and Bertani outline five areas that will require significant focus and investment next three years:
- Transition HR systems and processes to focus on skills first
- Create stronger connections between education, training, and work
- Focus on short-term credentials
- Increase and simplify access to education
- Make reskilling affordable
This is just the beginning, however. Employed and unemployed workers across the nation are depending on employers, educators, and public servants to come forward with innovative solutions. We cannot let them down.Gayatri Agnew, Senior Director for Opportunity at Walmart.org, and Ellie Bertani, Senior Director of Associate Experience, Walmart U.S