Walmart expands debt-free education benefit to include skilled trades

Walmart (WMT) is expanding its educational benefits program to prepare its workforce for “future-proof and future-focused roles” through skilled trade training.

In the summer of 2018, the big-box retailer began offering its 1.5 million U.S. associates debt-free college, as part of its $1-a-day college tuition perk, called “Live Better U.” The nascent program — which used to kick in after 90 days, but is now available on day one — has already been a huge hit with Walmart’s workers.

“While the economy and our company will continue to be technology-driven, we also recognized that the U.S. suffers from a skilled trades talent gap,” said Drew Holler, SVP of People at Walmart.

The country’s largest private employer teamed up with Penn Foster, a for-profit online career school, to offer its associates the opportunity to earn certificates across trades, including facilities and industrial maintenance, HVAC/refrigeration, electrical, plumbing, and construction.

The retailer has

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Walmart leadership denounces ‘senseless’ George Floyd killing, embraces ‘more just and fair country’

Walmart (WMT) kicked off its 50th annual meeting of shareholders by addressing the killing of George Floyd that has sparked global outrage, with its leaders denouncing systemic racism and police brutality.

Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, lit the spark of mass protests across the U.S. With other major brands embracing the moment, Walmart used its annual confab to address the controversy directly.

Walmart, which now employs 2.35 million people worldwide, usually puts on a week-long, star-studded celebration that convenes thousands of company associates in the retailer’s hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas. However, this year’s meeting, held virtually due to the pandemic, lasted only one hour.

In the opening remarks, chairman of the board Greg Penner immediately called the death of Floyd “senseless,” insisting that Walmart has a “role to play in helping create a more just and

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Walmart stores suffer damage from George Floyd protests and looting — several hundred forced to close early

Walmart (WMT) joins a growing list of retailers whose stores have been vandalized and looted amidst the George Floyd protests sweeping the U.S.

A Walmart spokesperson told Yahoo Finance that 12 stores across the country have sustained damage from the violence (seen below, as an example). Several “hotspots” for the store damage include Minnesota and Dallas, says the spokesperson. Walmart operates more than 5,300 stores in the U.S., including 81 in Minnesota where the protests have been the most intense following the death of Floyd at the hands of a police officer.

The conditions on the ground at some stores led Walmart to close more than 200 stores about one hour early on Sunday, the spokesperson added, so employees could return home safely. The majority of these stores are slated to reopen on Monday, provided it’s safe to do so.

Walmart rival Target has also been hit hard by protests

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Stimulus checks are working: Walmart U.S CEO

The debate on whether the stimulus checks arriving to the digital bank accounts of U.S. consumers are working rages on in the halls of Congress and on Wall Street. But from the perspective of America’s largest retailer Walmart (WMT), the newfound cash infusion to household balance sheets are working as designed.

They are helping people spend a little more on daily essentials, perhaps after a recent job loss, or encouraging people to splurge, if they are still employed.

“I think it helped,” Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner — who oversees more than 4,700 U.S. stores — said about the checks on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

“We were softer in Easter than what we had expected to be and weren’t sure if that’s where things were going to be for some time. A few days after the stimulus checks began to land, people were settling in at home. Call it

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Walmart plows ahead with COVID-19 testing

Walmart (WMT) continues to plow ahead with turning its store parking lots into vital COVID-19 testing facilities.

“We have got about 180 sites that are doing coronavirus testing today,” Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade on Friday. “We just launched a site last week where we can do coronavirus testing at the drive-thru at a neighborhood market pharmacy in a safe way. We would like to do antibody testing now, when we think the process is right.”

Currently, Walmart, Target, CVS Health and other retailers doing COVID-19 testing at their stores use the traditional nasal swab approach. That is likely to further evolve in the months ahead as antibody testing becomes more reliable and readily available.

Since Walmart announced COVID-19 testing on March 13, it reached a goal of opening 100 sites by the end of May early, on May 15. The company is

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