Walmart announces education expansion and new fulfillment centers
Walmart will expand its academy to all of its employees and build four "next-generation" fulfillment centers.
Driving the news: The Walmart shareholders' meeting, which takes place over the course of a few days, is this week. Company officials made the announcements during shareholder events on Thursday.
What's happening: All Walmart employees, including those outside the U.S. and at Sam's Club, will be able to take part in the academy, Lorraine Stomski, senior vice president for learning and leadership, said.
What it means: The academy is focused on professional development and training employees in new skills so they can take on new roles within the company, such as home delivery, and paying for their education.
Background: The company announced in 2021 that it would invest $1 billion over five years to cover education costs for employees.
- Walmart Academy launched in 2016.
What's happening: Walmart will build four centers that heavily rely on automation, condensing a 12-step fulfillment process to just five steps. The centers will also increase storage capacity and double the number of customer orders Walmart is able to fulfill, according to the company.
What they're saying: "Associates have to lift between 30 and 40 pounds. They walk nine-plus miles per day," Mike Prince, vice president of innovation and automation, said of the existing manual fulfillment system. He said the new system will be less physically demanding.
Why it matters: The centers will create 4,000 jobs, and these centers alone could provide one-day to two-day shipping for 75% of the U.S. population, according to Walmart.
- The jobs — control technicians, quality audit analysts and flow managers — are generally higher-paying than the traditional ones at fulfillment centers, Prince said.
What's next: Walmart plans to open the first facility this year in Illinois. The others will be in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas and are expected to open in 2023 and 2024.
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