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WASHINGTON, June 1, 2015 – As a part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s $100 million commitment to industry workforce development, an $800,000 grant has been awarded to the NRF Foundation. Through this grant the NRF Foundation will work with employers to determine the competencies needed in the industry and the potential for a new industry-validated credentialing program to help store and distribution center employees advance their careers.
The capacity-building grant will enable the NRF Foundation to hire a new staff member who will undertake an analysis of the retail industry’s learning and development needs; fund three research projects; and create a community of leaders in retail learning and development from NRF member companies to provide input and insight on addressing industry workforce trends in the long term.
The NRF Foundation will bring together retailers from across the industry – including grocery stores, drugstores, specialty retailers, department stores and big-box retailers – to identify core competencies crucial to the success of front-line associates and determine how the industry can move forward to continue to develop its workforce. This work will also include the development of forward-thinking training programs to address how the industry and its workforce needs are changing and evaluate effective ways of training employees at scale.
“We are committed to building a program that will advance the careers of millions of current and potential retail workers,” said NRF Foundation Executive Director Ellen Davis. “Bringing the entire industry together for this important work will enable us to create a continuous pipeline of talent for retail’s future workforce, and we are grateful to the Walmart Foundation for funding the initial exploration of how businesses can come together to support the millions of people who work in retail.”
The NRF Foundation will use a portion of the grant to conduct extensive research in three key areas — industry challenges in the recruiting, development and retention of successful store and distribution teams; current hiring and training practices; and the anticipated skills needed for the retail workforce in stores and distribution centers in 2025.
“The NRF Foundation already has a deep understanding of the challenges facing today’s retail workforce. The Walmart Foundation’s grant will help identify new challenges facing hiring managers and the skills retail workers will need in the next 20 years,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and senior vice president of corporate affairs. “Through our work together we’ll be able to develop flexible training modules and clear job pathways that will ultimately increase the economic mobility of the retail workforce as a whole.”
The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail. The NRF Foundation is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm of the National Retail Federation and is funded in part by generous donations from retail industry supporters. NRF.com/Foundation.