By Matthieu Boyle | Bloomberg
Target has pledged $ 200 million over four years to fund training courses for its U.S. employees, mirroring a similar program from rival Walmart and showing how far companies will go in a tight labor market.
The new program will be available to more than 340,000 full-time and part-time U.S. workers at its stores, distribution centers and corporate headquarters, Target said in a statement Wednesday. Employees can choose from 250 classes in more than 40 schools on subjects ranging from computer science to design. They will not accumulate any out-of-pocket expenses, even for textbooks and other costs. For study outside the program, Target will also pay up to $ 5,250 per year for non-master’s degrees and up to $ 10,000 for master’s degrees.
Target built the program with Guild Education, which specializes in higher education for working adults and also helped design Walmart’s tuition program. Classes will be available from the University of Arizona, Oregon State University, University of Denver, and others.
The move comes a week after Walmart softened its three-year college tuition schedule by investing $ 1 billion to remove all costs for employees – an effort to increase enrollment in a plan that previously cost $ 1 per day to employees.
Target and Walmart both hired thousands of frontline workers last year to meet the growing demand for everyday goods during the pandemic, and retailers now face the challenge of keeping them. US businesses created far fewer jobs than expected in July, indicating persistent barriers to hiring despite a more general improvement in the economy. Companies are trying to keep pace with pent-up demand, but it will take time to fill a now record number of open positions.
Target separately last week gave all of its frontline employees a $ 200 recognition bonus. Last year, he increased his starting hourly wage to $ 15, higher than Walmart’s starting wage.