July 27 (UPI) -- Walmart announced Tuesday that it will pay 100% of college tuition and books for associates through its Live Better U education program.
The program starts on Aug. 16 and employees won't have to pay anything for full access to all education programs, the company said. They will be paid by Walmart.
Officials said the decision will impact nearly 1.5 million part-time and full-time employees of Walmart and Sam's Club.
The largest U.S. private employer said it is committed to invest nearly $1 billion over the next five years in training and development.
The program was designed after consultation with experts.
"The economy and job market have changed and Walmart is always looking for new ways to encourage more associated to pursue further education," Walmart said in a statement.