One of Umatilla County’s biggest employers is offering college tuition at only $1 per day for its employees.
Walmart recently announced the incentive, available to all employees who have worked for the company at least 90 days, whether part-time or full-time. Associates who work toward a bachelor’s or associate degree in business or supply chain management will pay the equivalent of $1 per day at select universities, all of which offer the opportunity to complete the degree online while continuing to work.
“For all those parents with seniors just graduating, wondering how they’re going to support them: They can support themselves,” said Josh Burns, manager of the Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Hermiston.
He said they had announced the program at meetings for more than half the shifts at the DC already and it had been greeted with enthusiasm by associates who had been thinking about pursuing a college degree. Burns said a degree in business or supply chain management would offer new opportunities for promotion throughout the company.
“It’s insane how many opportunities there are,” he said.
For any interested employees, Walmart will pay all costs above financial aid and the $1 per day contribution from students — including reimbursment for textbooks and other required course supplies. Students must be enrolled in University of Florida, Brandman University (California) or Bellevue University (Nebraska) but all three universities offer the option to complete the degree online. Associates who leave the company mid-degree will no longer have their education subsidized but will not be required to pay back what they already completed.
The Hermiston Walmart Distribution Center employs about 1,100 people, and hundreds more work for the Hermiston and Pendleton stores. Burns said they will be able to continue to live in Umatilla County while furthering their education online.
“I’m extremely excited about it,” he said. “In 12 years with the company I’ve never seen them doing something so awesome.”