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Walmart Offers Degree Programs In Healthcare To Associates

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Walmart announced the expansion of its education benefit program, "Live Better U", by offering new degrees in health-related fields to its associates in the U.S.

The retail giant said its 1.5 million associates in the U.S. can apply for one of seven bachelor's degrees and two career diplomas in health-related fields for $1 a day through "Live Better U." The program subsidizes the cost of higher education for Walmart's employees who have not earned college degrees.

The announcement comes as the company attempts to bolster its presence in the U.S. healthcare market. Walmart has said its goal is to become America's neighborhood health destination.

In mid-September, the company had opened its first-ever cost effective Health Center in Dallas, Georgia. It also plans to work with local partners to provide key primary medical, dental, and behavioral health services all under one roof.

The new offerings will enable Walmart to recruit trained associates to fill critical health care roles across Walmart and Sam's Club, which includes more than 5,000 retail pharmacies, 3,000 vision centers and 400 hearing centers, as well as the new Walmart Health center in Georgia.

The health and wellness courses include career diploma programs for pharmacy technicians and opticians through Penn Foster. It also includes seven bachelor's degrees in health science, health and wellness and healthcare management/administration offered through Purdue University Global, Southern New Hampshire University, Bellevue University and Wilmington University.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health and wellness industry in the U.S. is projected to grow 18 percent between 2016 and 2026.

"Live Better U" now includes more than 50 programs, removing financial and access barriers to education for associates seeking educational opportunities across professions.

In April, Walmart had said it would extend the "Live Better U" education program to high-school students and also offer new technology degrees and certificates for $1 a day. The company added 14 new technology degrees and certificates to the program, including cybersecurity and computer science.

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