Wal-Mart officials are considering a job training partnership with the
University of the District of Columbia's new community college to
prepare city residents for jobs and combat concerns over its employment
practices as the chain plans to open in the District.
The retail giant, which has stores in Landover Hills and Fairfax County
but none in the District, announced four D.C. sites in November where it would like to open.
Although the initial sites are mostly under private control, Wal-Mart
began meeting with members of the D.C. Council in recent months to
discuss ways the company could contribute to training for city
residents. Such a partnership could advance another of the company's
goals - stemming criticism from union groups and activists who say it
does not fairly compensate employees and who are organizing to oppose
the chain's plans.
Wal-Mart has not signed leases for any of the locations yet. But store
officials, members of the council and Jonathan Gueverra, chief executive
of the Community College of the District of Columbia, have discussed
creating training programs operated by the community college and funded
in part by Wal-Mart or its charitable foundation.