Sam’s Club is promising massive raises to up to 25,000 workers who complete a martial-arts-inspired training program

  • Walmart-owned Sam’s Club will pay $7 more per hour to employees who complete a new martial-arts-inspired training program.
  • The program, which aims to improve Sam’s Club’s fresh-food departments, has four levels of training: a white belt, orange belt, blue belt, and black belt.
  • Earning an orange belt will raise employees’ hourly pay by $0.50. A blue belt will add another $1.50 per hour, and a black belt will result in a $5 hourly raise.

Walmart-owned Sam’s Club is giving massive pay increases of up to $7 more per hour to employees who complete a new martial-arts-inspired training program designed to improve the company’s fresh-food departments.

About 25,000 employees, or about a quarter of Sam’s Club’s workers, are eligible to enroll in the program, which should take about 18 months to complete, the company told Business Insider.

The program, which Sam’s Club launched in March, has four levels of training: a white belt, orange belt, blue belt, and black belt.

Earning an orange belt will raise employees’ hourly pay by $0.50. A blue belt will add another $1.50 per hour, and a black belt will result in a $5 hourly raise.

That means employees who complete all four levels of training will get an extra $7 per hour added to their paychecks, which represents a pay increase of more than 60% for some workers.

“We made a strategic decision to win in fresh and an equally important decision to invest in our people to get there,” said John Furner, president and CEO of Sam’s Club. “We’re growing talent internally to develop fresh experts – building the expertise we need and helping our associates build their careers.”

Sams' Club

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Reuters/Henry Romero

The program is only available to employees who work in Sam’s Club’s fresh-food departments, which include bakery, produce, meat and seafood, and prepared foods.

It will train workers in skills specific to their departments. Butchers, for example, will learn knife skills, and bakers will be trained in cake decorating. Workers in the produce department will learn how to more accurately measure the shelf life of various fruits and vegetables.

The higher levels of the program will provide training in other aspects of the business, such as budgeting and managing profit-and-loss statements.

“This program is about giving people skills to be great merchants,” a company spokeswoman said.