NRF signs White House 'Pledge to America’s Workers'

“That’s why we’re committed to upskilling 250,000 workers over the next five years through our Foundation."

Matthew Shay
NRF President and CEO

WASHINGTON — During a workforce development event at the White House today, the National Retail Federation signed a “Pledge to America’s Workers,” committing to create enhanced career opportunities for 250,000 individuals over the next five years through the NRF Foundation’s RISE Up program and student programs.

“For countless Americans, retail is the first step toward success in the workforce,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “But it’s more than a first step – it’s often an opportunity for a lifelong career. Unfortunately, too many individuals either aren’t aware of the promising career paths in retail or lack the skills they need to get their foot in the door. And too many employers face talent shortages.”

“That’s why we’re committed to upskilling 250,000 workers over the next five years through our Foundation by expanding our programs for college students and building on our training and credentialing program for people with barriers to employment,” Shay said. “We look forward to working with the administration to empower more Americans to achieve their full potential.”

The new White House initiative is aimed at increasing the skills of current and future workers by expanding apprenticeships, educational opportunities and job training programs. NRF was among more than 20 companies and associations that signed the pledge. As part of the White House initiative, President Trump also signed an executive order establishing the National Council for the American Worker along with an external advisory board.

RISE Up is a job training and credentialing program that helps people regardless of education, background, economic means or age acquire the skills they need to secure jobs in retail and advance into promising careers. The credentials cover a wide array of knowledge including sales, customer service, inventory, retail math and distribution, and training is available through online and classroom formats. The program helps equip students and those on the sidelines enter the workforce with the skills necessary to succeed in retail careers and beyond. RISE Up complements the significant investments retailers are making in their workforce.

Additionally, the NRF Foundation’s student programs bring together thousands of college students each year to expose them to the career opportunities in the retail industry. Students hear from leading executives about the innovation, opportunity and impact the retail industry can offer them. Scholarships are awarded to high-performing students and mentorship opportunities are available with hundreds of senior executives via the NRF Foundation’s exclusive Executive Mentor Experience.

The Foundation is also enhancing its student initiatives by creating new programs and scholarship opportunities to attract and recruit computer science and supply chain majors to retail careers and address the skills gap in the industry.

About NRF 
The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest-private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.