Wal-Mart training to include instruction on produce

Wal-Mart is implementing a massive employee training program for all departments, including fresh produce.

All department managers, assistant managers, and hourly supervisors for Wal-Mart are required attend two- to six-week training programs this year at company "academies."

By July Wal-Mart plans to have 160 new facilities for training, bringing its total to 200. More than 225,000 employees will go to the academies in 2017.

Department managers will go through a two-week session, with the first week covering retail fundamentals and the second week focusing on individual departments.

Produce department managers, for example, will spend one week on overall retail basics and another week on produce-specific training.

Produce topics covered will include pricing, cleaning, culling product for quality, and inventory, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Erica Jones said in an e-mail.

Hourly supervisors will also train for two weeks, while assistant managers will receive six weeks of training.

Along with outlining its plans for training, Wal-Mart announced it will add about 10,000 retail jobs this year as it opens 59 new, expanded or relocated Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores and increases its online services.

The cost of those projects and expanding services like online grocery pickup is expected to be $6.8 billion.

"Wal-Mart is investing to better serve customers," Dan Bartlett, Wal-Mart executive vice president for corporate affairs, said in a release. "With a presence in thousands of communities and a vast supplier network, we know we play an important role in supporting and creating American jobs."

In June 3013, Wal-Mart announced a new produce training program for 70,000 employees, with a new "produce school" for managers and other employees to learn about handling fruits and vegetables. At the same time, the company said it hired "produce experts" to work with growers across the country where Wal-Mart has buying offices.