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Walmart Introduces New Training Programs To Fill High-Demand Roles

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Walmart has announced new training programs and certifications to fill high-demand roles such as HVAC technicians, opticians, and software engineers. 

The company will also offer hourly store workers bonuses of up to $1,000 annually to encourage retention.

Walmart is investing heavily in its stores and workforce to maintain its leading position against competitors like Amazon, especially in the grocery sector during high inflation.

Earlier this year, Walmart revealed that store managers could earn over $400,000 annually, including bonuses, and began offering $20,000 in stock grants in April. 

The company also launched a $9 billion project to modernize more than 1,400 stores, over a quarter of its total locations in the US.

Walmart’s average hourly wage is now nearly $18, a 30 percent increase over the past five years. 

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Starting pay varies from $14 to $19, depending on the location. 

The company raised its minimum wage in January 2023. 

Despite these efforts, Walmart faces criticism for its wages. 

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the median annual compensation for employees is $27,642, below the poverty line for a family of four.

Their latest proxy reports state that Target's median compensation is $26,696, and Amazon's is $36,274, including part-time and full-time workers.

Walmart’s new training programs aim to help employees transition into higher-paying skilled trade jobs, such as facilities maintenance, refrigeration, and HVAC roles, which pay between $19 and $45 per hour. 

A six-month pilot program in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will start with 100 store and warehouse associates

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This initiative follows a successful associate-to-driver program launched in the spring of 2022, producing over 500 new truck drivers.

Participants in these programs are not obligated to remain with Walmart.

Still, the company expects a need for skilled workers as it expands automation and robotics in its warehouses and fulfillment centers.

Walmart has also increased the number of skills certificates to over 50, up from five in 2020, enabling employees to move into salaried or leadership positions. 

These certificates, typically earned within four months, provide a pathway to career advancement within the company.

The announcement coincides with Walmart’s recent virtual shareholder meeting and its annual associates celebration in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Both events feature celebrity appearances and musical performances.

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