The three organisations include: The Foundation for California Community Colleges (the Foundation), Code for America Labs, Inc. and edX.org.
Nearly 14 million people in the US – 8% of the total labour force—are both active workers and formally enrolled in some form of postsecondary education or training, according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. A large population of working adults, especially those who are economically challenged, tend to face barriers to learning and career advancement due to high-education costs, conflicting work schedules and a job market with lesser career opportunities.
Recent research has also predicted that one-third of the American workforce may need to develop new skills for various types of jobs by 2030 due to rapid technological advances.
California governor Jerry Brown stated: “California is pioneering new educational opportunities, and next year, our state launches a first-of-its-kind online community college.”
“This grant from Walmart will create multiple pathways for working learners and help put certificates and degrees in the hands of those striving to improve their lives.” He added.
The funding is the latest investment as part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s Retail Opportunity Initiative—a five-year,$100mn philanthropic effort aimed at making it easier for frontline employees in retail and adjacent sectors to acquire new skills and advance in their careers.
To date, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have funded more than $80mn in grants and have collaborated with leading nonprofits, employers, government agencies and educational institutions to identify and implement innovations aimed at increasing the economic mobility of retail and related-sector workers.
Julie Gehrki, vice president of philanthropy at Walmart, stated: “We’re committed to creating a stronger learning and training ecosystem to help workers advance and supporting some of our nation’s most innovative launch pads in higher education and training.”
“Through work with organizations like the Foundation for California Community Colleges, Code for America and edX.org, we can help make training and education more accessible and affordable for working adults so they advance their careers.” She added.
In this initiative, Walmart will provide a $2,388,430 grant to the Foundation for California Community Colleges, a $ 1mn grant to edX, and a $250,000 grant to Code for America.
Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor for the California Community Colleges stated: “Approximately 2.5 million adults in California between the ages of 25 to 34 years old have a high school diploma but no college degree; however, by 2020, 65 percent of jobs in the U.S. will require a college credential.”
“Walmart’s support to help implement innovative solutions like the Online Community College will help provide the skills and tools California workers need to succeed not only in today’s high-demand jobs, but also the jobs of the future in our emerging economy.” He stated.