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Walmart celebrates graduates of Trainee Academy

Walmart held a graduation ceremony on May 11, 2017, to recognize the first group of graduates from the new Training Academy that will serve stores in the region. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. -- Graduation season is here and many students are getting ready to cross the stage to claim their diploma. But not all graduates are working toward a degree.

Walmart held a graduation ceremony Thursday morning to recognize the first group of graduates from the new Training Academy that will serve stores here in the region.

This is the first Academy to open in Oregon and is as part of Walmart’s $2.7 billion investment in their associates.

For grads like Charlie Wysong, it was their first time ever putting on a cap and gown.

"I haven't had a traditional graduation aside from the military," Wysong says, "so this has been excellent."

Wysong says he joined the Air Force after high school. He wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement, but instead gave Walmart's loss prevention department at try. He eventually worked his way up to a manager position.

"It's just been a boost for me," he says. "I appreciate the feedback that I get often and I'm able to pass that forward to my associates."

He says the job allows him to provide for his eight-year-old daughter.

"It works around my schedule," Wysong says. "They're very helpful when it comes to working with me and my family time."

A Walmart spokesperson says over the last year the company has worked to improve the benefits and base-rate pay of their employees.

"I think it provides an opportunity for people like Charlie to realize a dream," says Walmart Regional HR manager, Ron Wagner. "And be provided with more than just a hope that it might happen, but truly a way to come to fruition."

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