Walmart woos college grads with $210,000 future as store bosses

Walmart Inc. is stepping up efforts to entice college graduates by unveiling a fast track to jobs as store managers—positions that typically pay more than $200,000 a year and have traditionally taken years to get. 

A new “College2Career program” will provide classroom training, hands-on experience, and mentoring for recent and soon-to-be graduates, Walmart said in a statement Sunday. Top performers will be offered a newly created management role as an “emerging coach,” which provides starting pay of at least $65,000 a year and a speedy path to becoming a store manager.  

“We see the emerging coach role as an additional pipeline to develop high-potential talent into future store managers, the latter role with an average wage of approximately $210,000 in 2021,” the retail giant said in the statement. “With College2Career, we are aiming to move emerging coaches to store managers within two years.” 

The program underscores a heightened sense of urgency as Walmart seeks to bolster the supply of managers for its more than 4,700 U.S. stores amid a tight labor market. Those aren’t the only jobs the company is trying harder to fill: It recently boosted starting pay for its truckers to as much as $110,000. And like other retailers, Walmart has been raising wages and adding educational and training opportunities in recent years. 

About 75% of U.S. salaried employees at Walmart’s stores, Sam’s Club warehouses and supply-chain facilities began in hourly positions, the company said. In March, the retailer began a program to connect front-line employees pursuing college degrees with in-demand jobs in areas such as cybersecurity and merchandising. 

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company is also expanding the internship program at its headquarters. 

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