Walmart to open training academies

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) is putting the spotlight on associates with new training academies designed to increase employee retention and improve the customer experience in stores.

The program was highlighted during the retailer's annual meeting with shareholders last week in Arkansas. The weeklong event is both a business update and chance for employees and the press to learn about the company's new initiatives.

One new range of programs includes support for educational initiatives and the rollout of some 200 Walmart Academies to train managers and supervisors.

The first such facility opened in February, the same day the company raised wages for more than 1.2 million workers to $10 per hour.

That 3,000-sq.-ft. facility is adjacent to a supercenter in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Future locations will pull attendees from 40 to 50 miles away and courses will take two weeks. Employees will be compensated for time and travel, according to TheStreet.

The classes will utilize proprietary training programs on mobile devices.

Close to 90 facilities are expected to open this year and a total of 200 will be up and running by June 2017, according to Supermarket News.

This focus on employees is a big part of CEO Doug McMillon's plan to drive growth. The company is looking at these programs as an investment in both workers and the retailer's future as competition for talent heats up and Walmart focuses on improving the in-store experience by bringing back greeters and old icons such as Smiley.

For more:
- see this Supermarket News story
- see this article at TheStreet

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