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Wal-Mart opens first training academy in Bucks County

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Graduates cut the ribbon at the new training academy at the Hatfield Wal-Mart.  (Photo by Joseph Kaczmarek)
Graduates cut the ribbon at the new training academy at the Hatfield Wal-Mart. (Photo by Joseph Kaczmarek)

Wal-Mart managers and supervisors in the Greater Lehigh Valley now have a place to go to learn management and customer service skills to further their careers with the retail giant and increase their chance at higher pay.

Wal-Mart has opened its first training academy in Pennsylvania. The academy is in its Hatfield store, just south of the Lehigh Valley, and will serve about 20 Wal-Mart stores, including in Allentown, Bechtelsville, Bethlehem, Easton, Hamburg, Quakertown, Reading, Temple, Whitehall and Wyomissing.

Phillip Keene, Wal-Mart spokesman for the Northeast U.S., said this training academy is the first in Pennsylvania of up to 200 academies the retailer plans to establish nationwide by the end of 2017. He said he also expects there will be another two in Pennsylvania, likely serving western and central Pennsylvania, although no sites have been finalized.

Keene said the two-week courses are aimed at teaching general leadership and customer service skills, as well as specific skills for each student’s individual job.

With increasing retail competition and evolving technology, the academy will help the Wal-Mart brand stay on top, he said.

“To grow and succeed as an associate and as a company, it’s going to require learning new skills,” Keene said.

Currently, managers, assistant managers and hourly department heads and supervisors are included in academy training.

By going through training, Keene said managers and supervisors can achieve higher pay and, as a company, Wal-Mart gets “better, more professional customer service and a stronger talent pool.”

There is a Pathways program for training of hourly associates. The training academy is a part of Pathways.

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Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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