Arianna Suarez’s first job after emigrating from Cuba as a teenager was as a cashier at a Walmart in Hialeah, Fla. Thanks in part to college-level classes in business administration that the company provides, she’s since worked her way up to store manager.
“It’s all online,” Suarez says of the courses she takes. “You get credit for some Walmart training classes you take here for your job, and there are some classes you don’t have to take based on your work experience. It’s very attainable.”
It also provides Suarez and other workers with a jumpstart on college degrees toward which the credits may later apply. And it’s as good for the company as it is for the employees.
Rather than waiting for students with the right skills to be produced by conventional universities, which teach business subjects much more broadly, a dozen Fortune 500 companies including Walmart now offer their own in-house training classes that are eligible for college credit, in specific areas they need their workers to know now.
The Starbucks workers can get one and a half credits from City University of Seattle for each of the company’s two barista classes, and three credits apiece for higher-level management courses, and other colleges across the country also recognize the Starbucks training for academic credit through the American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service. McDonald’s store managers can earn up to 23 credits toward associate’s or bachelor’s degrees for the courses they take at Hamburger U, and higher-ups can earn as many as 27 credits; Hicks used hers toward a business degree and went on to get a master’s degree in adult education that helps her in her training role. <Read more.>