Director – Lifelong Learning and Talent Development, Walmart U.S.
June 10, 2016
Jason Thackston was ecstatic to start working at a Walmart
distribution center in Washington Courthouse, Ohio, nearly six years ago. He’d
worked a variety of jobs before but, having never earned his high school
diploma, felt his chances for advancement were limited. With Walmart, he saw
opportunity – a career path.
That opportunity, combined with Cengage Learning’s Career Online High
School program, and a promise he made to his mother at her hospital
bedside, motivated him to unlock his full potential. Jason’s mother passed away
shortly after, but he kept his promise and – as you’ll see in this video – the
results have been transformative.
Career Online High School is one of many offerings we
provide associates through Lifelong
Learning, Walmart’s continuing education program. Jason’s story is why we
do what we do, and serves as an inspiration to all of us.
When you open a package of M&M’s and pour the colorful candy-shelled chocolates into your hand, you may not give much thought to where the candy was made.
Neither did I, until I had the chance to meet some of the people who create these delicious little treats at the Mars Wrigley Confectionery in Topeka, Kansas.
The Topeka facility specializes in creating filled M&M’s ─ like the brand-new M&M’s Caramel, as well as Snickers candy bars. Next year it will add Twix candy bars to the list. And they’re adding 70 new jobs to help take on the expanded production. Over 95% of Mars Wrigley Confectionery products sold in the U.S. are made locally by the company’s team of over 5,000 associates working across 12 domestic sites. More than 300 associates work at the Topeka facility.
Walmart is proud to work with companies like Mars Wrigley to bring locally-made products to customers. That’s why we’ve committed to buy an additional $250 billion in products through 2023, creating new jobs across communities like Topeka.
Check out this video to meet the people who make your favorite candy.
For veterans leaving the military, transitioning to civilian life can be a challenge, but Jarred Crabtree and Jeff Kowalik are determined to make it a little bit easier.
The two met in the U.S. Army, where Jeff was Jarred’s lead drill sergeant in basic training. An injury sent Jarred home earlier than he’d anticipated, but the two kept in touch over social media. When Jarred learned his former drill sergeant was leaving the Army, he knew he had to reach out.
Jarred had made the transition from military to civilian life twice before. After a time in the Army and seven years in law enforcement, he had become a market manager for Walmart’s Oklahoma City stores. He was still at Walmart when he rejoined the Army and met Jeff in 2010.
“When I injured myself, it was devastating,” Jarred said. “But the group of veterans when I came back was so supportive, I immediately felt better – like I could put all my energy and skills back into my job here.”
After 18 years in the Army, Jeff was medically retired and having the all-too-common experience of struggling to find...
Jarred wanted other veterans to experience the same kind of support and community he had, so he invited Jeff to come tour one of his stores in Oklahoma City, where they had several developmental co-manager positions open.
“I couldn’t think of anyone better for the role,” Jarred said. “I remembered Jeff’s leadership skills and his ability to lead diverse groups of people. He had the skill sets we needed.”
During his 18 years in the Army, Jeff had never had to look for a job. “When you leave the military, you have to remember how to do everything again,” he said. At Walmart, Jeff had to learn a new lingo and a new role, but he said it goes hand in hand with what he learned in the military. “The leadership, how hard you have to work, the service – there’s an honor behind what you do here.”
Jeff and Jarred are passionate about having other veterans join their teams at Walmart. They know the value veterans bring: professionalism, adaptability, teamwork, problem solving and ingrained leadership skills.
“If you want a job, all you have to do is come apply. You don’t have to start at the top, but with dedication and hard work, you’re going to move up,” Jarred said. “There’s so much opportunity, and it’s not just on the sales floor. With all the positions we have, whether it’s in operations, support, merchandising – when people realize what’s available, they’re amazed. You can lead people, and that’s what Jeff and I get to do every day.”
Now, Jeff mentors his team members at Walmart and in the broader veteran community. He works with the Veteran Support Foundation, which supports various veteran projects across the country, including helping homeless and disabled service members. He also maintains the veterans’ appreciation board at the front of his store, a photo display that recognizes associates who have served in any of the military branches.
“There’s a brotherhood and sisterhood that ties you together,” Jeff said. “When I came to Walmart, it was extremely heartwarming to know I had someone like Jarred, who was also military and also a leader above me who I could learn from.”
Jeff and his family have since moved to Houston, where he’s a co-manager of a Walmart supercenter, and his wife Jennifer is an assistant manager at another supercenter nearby. Meanwhile, Jarred was promoted to a director of implementation and sustainment. That means he’s now the main point of contact for Walmart’s central division of stores to ensure they’re operating successfully. But both veterans are taking what they learned and continuing to encourage other veterans around the country.
“Don’t give up,” Jarred said. “That’s the biggest message I’d want to get across to other veterans: there’s something out there for you. Ask questions. Don’t just apply online – come visit the store. Come talk to us, because you’ll find more people like me and Jeff who want you working with us.”
Eggnog, inflatable Santas, bath bombs, video games – ever feel like the shopping list will never end? No matter how you want to shop – whether in our stores, on our apps or online – we’re here to help. For the next 12 days, we’ll highlight different ways to nail every detail of the holidays so you can rock this Christmas.
Day 6: Save time using grocery delivery
Don’t let a frantic holiday schedule leave you with an empty fridge. When you’re pressed for time or worst of all, can’t make the trip, our delivery service in select cities will bring groceries and more straight to your door. Place an order on Walmart.com and a driver will retrieve your items and escort them to your home. It’s another way we’re helping you shop when and how you want.
So, give it a try - enter your zipcode here to see if this service is available in your area.
Day 5: Shop millions of online items across our brands
That’s right: shopping just got easier than ever with Google Home's virtual assistant, one of this season’s hottest items. The voice shopping option, coupled free two-day shipping and the Pickup Discount, makes getting what you need at low prices effortless. And just in time for the holidays, when you buy your Google Home or Google Home Mini from Walmart, you can receive up to $25 off when you link your Walmart account to Google Express. Think of it as a little Christmas present to celebrate all your hard work this season.
Day 3: Get groceries quick with your own personal shopper
Our certified personal shoppers are time savers and miracle makers. They have a passion for people, products and exceptional service. Need veggies for dinner tonight? Milk for breakfast tomorrow? With Online Grocery Pickup, our expertly trained associates are standing by in more than 1,100 locations, ready to select the freshest items on your list. Choose from more than 40,000 items and we’ll do the rest. Best of all, we offer same-day service with no price mark-up, no subscription and no fees. Santa's elves will even load your car.
Day 2: Shop millions of items on Walmart.com
We've tripled our assortment on Walmart.com as compared to last holiday season. What does that mean for you? More than 70 million potential gifts for your family and friends alongside the essentials you need every day, from paper towels to hot new electronics and great deals on smart TVs. Best of all, Walmart.com continues to offer free, two-day shipping — no membership required.
Day 1: Use the Walmart app to power through your to-do list
Today we announced that we are changing our name from Wal-Mart Stores to Walmart. Why the change? Because of our growing presence as a retailer who serves customers no matter how they choose to shop.
Most of us, and I’d guess all our customers, refer to our company as Walmart and still will. Changing our corporate name from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., to Walmart Inc. is just a symbol of how customers are shopping us today and how they’ll increasingly shop us in the future. Whether it’s in our stores, on our sites, with our apps, by using their voice or whatever comes next, there is just one Walmart as far as our customers are concerned. When they shop with us, they expect it to be an easy and seamless experience.
Changing our corporate name to Walmart is a way of better reflecting our company’s path to win the future of retail. It’s also a bit about returning to the company’s roots. You might be surprised to learn that, when Sam Walton opened the first store in 1962, the name on the front of the building was simply, “Walmart.” A few years later, we incorporated as Wal-Mart, Inc., and amended the name to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., when we went public in 1970.
For our associates, while our new legal name removes the dash, we’re not planning to change the Walmart cheer. Getting our blood flowing and choosing not to take ourselves too seriously is still part of our culture. It’s important to have some fun at work, so for our associates in countries where your cheer calls for the squiggly, keep doing it!
We began with great stores and steadily expanded to include clubs and distribution centers. In 1991, we became a global retailer when we opened our first international location in Mexico City, and we launched Walmart.com in 2000. Today we operate under almost 60 different banners around the world, including eCommerce sites, and have more than 11,600 stores and clubs in 28 countries.
Now, we are focused on strengthening stores and clubs around the world to make sure customers continue to have a great experience every time they walk through the door. At the same time, we’re also building our eCommerce and digital capabilities, and we’re putting them together in a way that makes every day easier for busy families. Sam Walton said, “To succeed in this world, you have to change all the time.” He wouldn’t have known that customers in the future would shop on their smart phones or with their voices, but he did know that retail would continue to change. He taught us that, and that for a company to succeed, it has to be agile and innovative.
Even though our corporate name has changed, what won’t change is that Walmart will be there for customers—saving them money and time and helping make every day just a little bit easier.