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Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Walmart announced Tuesday that it will cover the cost of college tuition and books for employees participating in its Live Better U education program.

Why it matters: Employees at Walmart and its subsidiary Sam's Club will be eligible to "earn college degrees or learn trade skills without the burden of education debt," the company wrote in a news release.

The big picture: The Live Better U (LBU) program was launched in 2018, in partnership with certain schools, with a $1-per-day fee for participating associates.

  • This fee has now been eliminated due to changes in the "economy and job market," per the company statement. Walmart also will invest $1 billion over the next five years in career training and development for employees.
  • Walmart announced Tuesday that it was expanding the number of partner schools from six to 10.

Of note: Walmart stated that 52,000 employees have participated in the program to date and 28,000 associates are currently enrolled. But this presents only a sliver of its actual workforce.

  • The 28,000 employees enrolled in an LBU program this summer constitute less than 2% of Walmart's U.S. workforce, reports the Washington Post.
  • Programs like LBU "tend to be relatively low-cost corporate investments because very few employees have the time or resources to sign up," notes the Post.

What they're saying: “We are creating a path of opportunity for our associates to grow their careers at Walmart, so they can continue to build better lives for themselves and their families,” Lorraine Stomski, senior vice president of learning and leadership at Walmart, said in the news release.

Go deeper

More Texas employers require COVID-19 vaccines

Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines announced this week that all 60,000 employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive an exemption by Nov. 24.

Why it matters: The airline and health care industries account for hundreds of thousands of local jobs. Compliance numbers show that workers are choosing their jobs over their vaccine concerns.

Sen. Warner: U.S. must "rethink" how it invests in human capital

Photo: Axios

The United States must rethink its investment in human capital, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said at an Axios virtual event on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Warner's remarks come amid a broader discussion about workforce development in the Senate and how investment in job training may play a vital role in the economy's recovery.

"No-code" miracle for startups

Expand chart
Data: Interactive Advertising Bureau; Table: Axios Visuals

The U.S. has reached a tipping point in its shift from the industrial economy — one that relied on the buildout of hardware — to an information economy that relies on the transfer, storage and implementation of data, according to a new report.

Why it matters: This shift towards a data and information-based economy has allowed more businesses to establish themselves and scale quickly and at a very low cost. As such, the number of jobs created by the commercial internet has more than tripled since 2012.