Walmart Foundation Funds Online College

Walmart Provides Grant to Help Fund Online Community College

Funding to help provide Californians more accessible, affordable education and training tailored to the retail and service sectors

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—October 9, 2018—Today, the Foundation for California Community Colleges announced a nearly $2.4 million grant from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. Funding will support advance work for California’s Online Community College (Online College), a competency-based model of online education that leverages technology to create opportunities for economic mobility and move adult workers in California toward higher wages through access to education and training. The investment is part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s Retail Opportunity Initiative, a five-year, $100 million philanthropic effort aimed at making it easier for frontline employees in retail and adjacent sectors to gain new skills and advance in their careers. 

Pictured from left: Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Chancellor, California Community Colleges; Marc Lore, CEO, Walmart eCommerce; Lee Rubenstein, Vice President of Business Development, edX; Julie Gehrki, Vice President, Programs, Walmart Foundation; and Sara T. Mayer, Chief Program Officer, Code For America

“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,” said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor for the California Community Colleges and interim CEO for the Online College. “Walmart’s support to help implement innovative solutions like the Online Community College will help provide the skills and tools Californian workers need to succeed not only in today’s high-demand jobs, but also the jobs of the future in our emerging economies.”

In June of 2018, an Online College was created to better serve working adults in California who are often stranded in the workforce by a lack of access to education and training opportunities. Additional support from philanthropy will allow for capacity building, partnership development in the retail and service industries, and user-centered design and ethnographic and behavioral research. Ultimately, this will allow the Online College to work directly with employers in retail, fast food, restaurant, and hospitality to help their employees pursue wage-enhancing certificates and degrees through online education, and working to ensure that credentials earned are valued in their respective industries.

Californians face significant barriers to training, education, and ultimately achieving those certifications—including high education costs, conflicting work schedules, and a job market with fewer high-quality career opportunities—that allow them to succeed not only in today’s high-demand jobs, but also the jobs of the future in our emerging economies. Walmart’s support of the Online Community College will help potential students to overcome these limitations, opening up a world of educational resources and innovative new pathways for lifelong learning.

“We are incredibly grateful for Walmart’s generous support of the Foundation and its role in developing California’s first-ever Online Community College,” said Keetha Mills, president and CEO of the Foundation for California Community Colleges. 

The online college aims to begin serving students in the fall of 2019, offering three initial pathways which will prepare learners for careers in information technology, medical coding, and as first-line supervisors.  Partnership from philanthropy provide additional support to accelerate innovative practices.

“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,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president of philanthropy at Walmart. “Through work with organizations like the Foundation for California Community Colleges, Code for America and edX, we can help make training and education more accessible and affordable for working adults so they advance their careers.”

The Foundation joins two other California-based grantees, edX and Code for America, being recognized by Walmart, with all organizations working to revolutionize the current system of learning in an effort to better serve today’s workforce.

Read the Walmart press release >


The Foundation for California Community Colleges is the official nonprofit foundation to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and Chancellor's Office. The Foundation's mission is to benefit, support, and enhance the missions of the California Community Colleges system, the largest higher education system in the nation. Incorporated in 1998, the Foundation works to benefit all California Community College students, colleges, college foundations, and the system as a whole by accelerating paths to economic and social mobility, strengthening communities, and reducing barriers to opportunities for all Californians. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit corporation and receives no direct state or public support. For more information, visit

About Walmart
Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, nearly 265 million customers and members visit our more than 11,200 stores under 55 banners in 27 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2018 revenue of $500.3 billion, Walmart employs over 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting, on Facebook at and on Twitter at

About Philanthropy at Walmart
By using our strengths to help others, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation create opportunities for people to live better every day. Walmart has stores in 27 countries, employing more than 2.3 million associates and doing business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are helping people live better by accelerating upward job mobility for the retail workforce; addressing hunger and making healthier, more sustainably-grown food a reality; and building strong communities where we operate. We are not only working to tackle key social issues, we are also collaborating with others to inspire solutions for long-lasting systemic change. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit

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