Walmart Opens Training Center in Joplin; Holds Graduation Ceremo - KOAM TV 7

Walmart Opens Training Center in Joplin; Holds Graduation Ceremony for Employees Completing Academy

Joplin, MO -

Walmart brings a focus to customer service by investing in its employee's education. A new Walmart academy training center is located in Joplin.
It’s graduation day for Matt Vandergrift and sixty-three of his Walmart Academy classmates. The academy is typically a two week program teaching retail skills one week, and department specific skills the next.
The pet care department manager says he learned how to do his job of managing inventory even better. 

Vandergrift explained, "Not only did they give me the tools, but they  taught me how to use the tools which is a very important thing if you don’t know how to use the tools properly. And more importantly, they gave me a boost in my confidence and just on how I interact with  people. So it was a very positive experience in that way."

And now a training center is located at the 15th and Rangeline store. It has three classrooms and a check in station. Employees are on the clock getting paid for the training.

Senior vice president of Walmart Operations for the North Central Division Karisa Sprague said, “We build them
at the store versus an off- site facility because we know that associates learn best when they're working on the sales floors as well as the classroom,  with the customers as well as the trainers."

It’s knowledge the new graduates will share as an academy store. Matt said, "We help our fellow associates. We teach them what we've learned, and show them proper techniques to be done by the best way policy."

Store manager Henry Wallace said the store has big responsibilities.  “Our folks should be better trained to provide better customer service,  better in stock and overall increase the experience of the customer when they come in our store," he said,

The Joplin academy will train workers from three regional markets including Springfield and Branson, meaning some in the program will stay overnight. Sprague said,"It does add business to the economy local economy as they eat meals,  housing and lodging as such." While it can be convenient training for many being located within the region. Each academy trains workers from twenty-five nearby stores.

Matt says its training that has inspired him to see future higher positions in the company. “Absolutely, this gives me a great foundation for moving up to a support manager, assistant,  on up."

Sprague confirmed that. She said,  "Many of them have moved up, not only to be department managers but to be hourly supervisors  across other areas of the store and some up to assistant managers as well.
Over seventy percent  of our managers are hired from hourly ranks."
And at the least the program is a morale booster. For two of the female associates it was their first time wearing a cap and gown. And even if he, himself has been there before, Vandergrift said, "It was actually an amazing experience." 

     Walmart's goal is to build two hundred academies across the country for continuous employee training.


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