The National Fund Launches Retail Initiative with Support from $2.8 Million Grant from Walmart
Walmart’s investment will provide greater opportunities for retail workers and support collaboratives in three communities
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 10, 2017) – With a three-year $2.8 million grant from Walmart, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions is launching a new effort focused on building greater opportunity for America’s retail workers. The grant will build on the National Fund’s extensive experience in starting, scaling and sustaining industry collaboratives and will support the creation of a retail industry collaborative in three National Fund communities. These collaboratives will be the vehicle for developing new approaches that improve the attractiveness of retail employment and promote career advancement for retail workers.
The retail industry employs more than 42 million people and offers real opportunities for all workers. Whether a full-time career, a part-time job or someone’s first work experience, working in the retail industry can help someone earn a good wage and develop valuable professional skills. However, studies report that millions of retail workers lack essential skills that can help lead to greater economic mobility.
As National Fund President and CEO Fred Dedrick states, “The retail industry offers opportunities and challenges, but we must do more to ensure that these workers are able to learn essential skills, advance into new positions and thrive in a quality job.”
Through this grant, the National Fund will provide $100,000 per year for three years to three of its partner communities to organize local retailers into an industry collaborative. These collaboratives will work with employers, educators and community leaders to improve retail positions by offering additional training opportunities that help workers expand their skills, building career pathways that help employees advance into higher positions, and incorporating new business practices that strengthen operations while improving the quality of retail jobs.
“At Walmart, we believe positive and lasting change comes from collaboration with others,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “The National Fund has deep experience enhancing economic mobility of workers across sectors. We are excited about supporting them to bring their expertise to retail, helping to improve hiring practices, ramp up training and ultimately help advance retail workers beyond frontline jobs.”
As its first project explicitly focused on the retail sector, the National Fund will document successful practices and innovative approaches from the three pilot cities and will spread this across its network of 33 communities. The retail industry offers significant promise and opportunity to workers and communities, and the National Fund is committed to using its collaborative approach to improve retail occupations and help retailers meet its workforce needs.
The National Fund is hiring a Retail Industry Director to manage this project and welcomes all qualified applicants to apply. Find more information at www.nationalfund.org/careers.
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About National Fund for Workforce Solutions
The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is a national network promoting economic opportunity and prosperous communities through investment and innovation. Based in Washington D.C., the National Fund partners with philanthropy, employers, workers, public and private community organizations, and more than 30 regional collaboratives to invest in skills, improve systems, and generate good jobs. The National Fund supports civic and business leaders in promoting evidence-based practices and policies that build shared prosperity. Learn more about the National Fund and its local partners at www.NationalFund.org.