NRF Foundation launches jobs initiative

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'RISE Up' to promote retail skills, careers

NEW YORK – A group of retailers and nonprofits brought together by the NRF Foundation have launched an effort designed to help more people of all ages and backgrounds acquire the skills they need to get jobs in stores, and then turn those jobs into retail careers.

The effort, announced on Sunday at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show conference here, is also meant to ensure that the retail industry attracts the talent it needs to thrive in the future.

Called RISE Up — RISE stands for Retail Industry Skills and Education — the new training and credentialing initiative currently has the support of 21 retail companies, including BJ’s Wholesale Club, Kroger Co., Target Corp. and Walmart.

“Good jobs change lives, and retail doesn’t just provide first jobs, but opportunities for lifelong careers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “RISE Up helps the people who need it the most, and helps retailers address recurring talent challenges —  including reducing the time needed to hire and train new associates and decreasing turnover.”

RISE Up offers a 15-module training program called Retail Industry Fundamentals, which is designed to teach people about retail tools and technologies, customer service, retail math, inventory and interview skills. The training can be delivered in a classroom or online, and can be provided to prospective retail employees by the NRF Foundation’s nonprofit and public education partners. Those who complete the course will have the skills and confidence to get a start on a successful career in retailing, and can pass an exam to get a credential for their resumes. Retail companies can also use the program to train and advance existing employees.

“Retail is such a dynamic industry —  it offers great jobs, flexibility and the ability to learn new skills and grow a career,” Walmart U.S. president and chief executive officer Greg Foran said. “Walmart is proud to work with the NRF Foundation and other retailers to explore new ways to attract, train and retain talent. This is a critical time for the industry, and it’s important that we all focus on giving our people the tools to succeed and the ability to move up.”

Initial funding for the development of RISE Up was made possible by a capacity-building grant from the Walmart Foundation.

Foran participated in the panel discussion that kicked off this year’s NRF annual convention and expo, also known as Retail’s Big Show 2017. The session was called “Building Tomorrow’s Workforce: How Retailers are Attracting and Retaining Talent.” Joining Foran on the panel were Macy’s Inc. chairman and CEO Terry Lundgren, and Ashley Stewart executive chairman and CEO James Rhee.


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