by Elizabeth Wehman, editor

 WALMART ACADEMY celebrated the first Michigan Academy graduation at the Owosso Walmart on Thursday, Nov. 3. The Owosso store received its accreditation by answering 5,000 audit questions and according to Regional General

Manager, Region 19, Jim Winkler, “They passed with flying colors.” This training academy for Walmart is the first to open in the state of Michigan, fifth in the division.

     Fifty-three graduates participated in the graduation ceremony with fourteen of those being original employees who started at the Owosso Walmart store 25 years ago. The graduation class, Walmart Associates and Managers, Owosso Mayor Ben Frederick, Shiawassee County Chamber of Commerce representatives, and Owosso Store Manager Celeste Beemer are shown here cutting the ribbon to officially open the academy.

   The graduating class streamed into the tent outside the store for the ceremony through a long line of Walmart Executives, Managers, and Associates giving them all a ‘high-five’ for their accomplishments. (Independent Photo/Elizabeth Wehman)


“The more you empower and train associates can only bring good things back to the business,” commented Karisa Sprague the Senior Vice President of the North Central Division of Walmart at the first training academy graduation in Michigan on Thursday, Nov. 3. “We are understanding now the changes our customers need, so Walmart needs to change with the times. We need to continue to take care of our customers,” she added.

Walmart academies are dedicated facilities located in, or adjacent to a Walmart Supercenter where hourly supervisors and department managers receive two weeks of hands-on training that combines both the classroom and sales floor. “Our training academies help provide associates with the skills they need to succeed and advance, while creating a better and more consistent customer experience,” said Jim Winkler, Regional General Manager of Walmart.

The training program is called, “Pathways,” for associates at all levels of the store’s operations. Walmart plans to build approximately 200 academies in the United States by the end of 2017. Each academy will train associates from approximately 25 nearby stores. Walmart employs more than two million associates worldwide and continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy, and employment opportunity.

The presentation of colors were given by the Owosso Veterans of Foreign War, the national anthem was sung by Denise Ford from the Lapeer Walmart store, and the Owosso High School Madrigal group sang, “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful.” Speakers included Sprague, Winkler, Market Manager Diane Behnke, Owosso Store Manager Celeste Beemer and Owosso Mayor Ben Frederick.

First Training Academy to Open in the State for Walmart was last modified: November 7th, 2016 by Karen Elford