Student Spotlight: Walmart Student Brandi Kindell
Making the decision to go back to school isn’t easy for working adults like Brandi Kindell. As a single mother of two, even the idea of enrolling in college seemed out of reach for Brandi. Since she didn’t have money to pay for tuition up front, she’d have to incur large amounts of debt, and that didn’t sit well with her. Still, she had been a Walmart associate for 14 years. She worked her way up from the shoe department to a driver coordinator role and was ready to take the next step forward in her career by applying for management jobs. Those positions, however, required a bachelor’s degree.
Brandi started researching grants and other ways she could pay for school. Then, in the midst of her efforts, Walmart introduced Live Better U, their partnership with Guild Education.
Through Live Better U, Walmart’s education and upskilling program, Brandi and other associates can earn a degree, diploma, or certificate. Live Better U offers a wide variety of programs in areas such as healthcare, business, and skilled trades, which means there are many pathways available for those who want to move their careers forward.
The best part? Associates who choose to enroll only pay $1 a day for their education.
With worries about debt and the cost of college behind her, Brandi was eager to get started in school.
She reached out to Sarah, her Guild student coach, who walked Brandi through each step of the application process. Sarah and Brandi also continued to communicate throughout the entirety of Brandi’s education journey. They connected at least once per month to catch up on how school was going for Brandi and talk through any questions she had. “I wish I had [Sarah] when I was getting out of high school and going into my associate degree,” Brandi reflected. “I may not have taken so long to get back into school had I had someone in my corner like that.”
With her coach’s help, Brandi enrolled in a business management and leadership degree program. She chose this particular program because it aligned with her goal of becoming a leader at Walmart — someone who influences her colleagues and empowers them to strive for excellence. Plus, she suspected that learning more about the business side of the company would help her become a more knowledgeable associate, regardless of her role.
Two years later, Brandi graduated with a bachelor’s degree. Thanks to Live Better U, she has not only set an example for her children, but she has also become the first of her three siblings to earn a bachelor’s.
She sees her accomplishment as a step forward for future generations.
“A lot of people my age and my demographic don’t have bachelor’s degrees,” she said. “I’m going to make sure those statistics don’t apply to me anymore. Having an education is going to help me build generational wealth for my family.”