As one blog covering the story pointed out, Detroit's unemployment rate is mind-boggling - something I got to see personally when I worked at the main branch of the Detroit Public Library downtown. And we've been hearing for years now that America's moving into a service-based economy, so learning customer service and cashier skills will actually be beneficial to the students who take part in this.
Ignoring for a second all the negative associations with Walmart, there's one thing about this that really stands out - there are no Walmarts in the city of Detroit proper. Perhaps that explains the following quote, which caught my attention:
Sean Vann, principal at Douglass, said 30 students at that school will get jobs at Walmart. He said the program will allow students an opportunity to earn money and to be exposed to people from different cultures - since all of the stores are in the suburbs.
Perhaps this was taken out of context; perhaps the principal was talking about immigrant communities or some such thing. But on its face, it explains so much about why Detroit is in the condition it's in.
Sounds like something a light rail system could fix, no?
(Yeah, I know there wasn't anything comics- or geek-related here. Sometimes it happens.)