Wal-Mart (Stock Quote: WMT) announced yesterday that it is partnering with American Public University to offer college credit and tuition assistance to its employees.

According to Wal-Mart’s Web site, this “partnership will put associates on a faster track to earning a college degree, reduce their length of time in school and make the overall cost more affordable.”

As part of its Lifelong Learning Experience Program, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club associates who enroll in the online university are able to earn 45% of the credit required to receive an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. They are also eligible for a 15% tuition reduction. Additionally, the retail giant will invest $50 million during the next three years to help workers buy books and pay for tuition. Wal-Mart employs 1.4 million workers in the U.S.

APU is an accredited online institution that offers more than 100 online certificate and degree programs and educates more than 70,000 adult learners worldwide. Wal-Mart employees will earn credit for on-the-job training and work experience in degree programs such as Management, Security Management and Transportation and Logistics. The university plans to offer additional programs in retail management in accordance with their new partnership.

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“APU is dedicated to providing an affordable, high-quality learning experience that is designed to equip graduates for career advancement and leadership in an increasingly competitive, knowledge-based economy,” Wallace Boston, Jr., president and CEO of the accredited American Public University System said in a press release. “We look forward to welcoming Wal-Mart associates to our university community.”

Other organizations that have instituted similar partnerships with academic institutions include consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, FedEx (Stock Quote: FDX), Verizon (Stock Quote: VZ), global security manufacturer  Northrop Grumman (Stock Quote: NOC), the U.S. Postal Service, the Coast Guard, Wachovia (Stock Quote: WB) and the YMCA. However, Wal-Mart, who employs more than 2.1 million worldwide, is one of the largest corporations to provide its workers the chance to earn academic credit.

Wal-Mart may be the latest company to offer workers extra incentives to come on board, but they’re not the first. Check out this list of The Best Bosses in The World to see what other perks companies have set up for their employees.

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