RISE Up connects retailers with qualified job candidates
Baltimore resident David Townes hadn’t worked in five years when he enrolled in Retail Industry Fundamentals, a training and credential program from the NRF Foundation, after hearing about it through his counselor at Goodwill of Chesapeake. Having worked as a car salesman for seven years, as well as holding positions at The Home Depot and Safeway, he is no stranger to the retail industry. But even with his experience, Townes — who’s been out of the workforce after a surgical procedure — has struggled to gain full-time employment without a resume or access to a working computer. He signed up to take Retail Industry Fundamentals to “get the edge and try to get back to work,” and it worked: After completion of the training, Townes was hired by Macy’s as a sales associate.
Townes and nearly 100 other job seekers who recently completed Retail Industry Fundamentals were invited to take part in a hiring fair in Baltimore (pictured above) held by the NRF Foundation on September 14. BJ’s Wholesale Club, Crate & Barrel, Macy’s, Staples, Target and Under Armour conducted one-on-one interviews during the event, which was held at the UA House at Fayette, a community center in Baltimore run by The Living Classrooms Foundation.
Retail Industry Fundamentals is part of the NRF Foundation’s RISE Up program to provide entry-level workers the skills and education needed to get a job in retail and advance their careers.
During and after the hiring fair, 80 percent of RISE Up learners got a job offer on the spot or received a second interview as a follow-up. In fact, 20 learners who had planned on interviewing that day didn’t need to because they’d already received offers after completing the training.
Another job seeker who found success after participating in RISE Up is Geraldine Pitchford. Pitchford, who also has been out of the workforce for quite some time, arrived at the hiring fair almost an hour before its start time. She was the first learner in and the last one out, spending her entire day speaking to retailers and fellow interviewees. Pitchford received an offer from three of the six retailers there that day.
This successful partnership between retailers and delivery partners who provide the Retail Industry Fundamentals to their communities is a testament to not only the effectiveness of the training’s curriculum, but the hard work and dedication of the learners themselves as well as the nonprofits who help them along the way.
Learn more about the NRF Foundation’s RISE Up initiative.