Our next chapter at the NRF Foundation


During a time of immense change in retail, the NRF Foundation’s work is more challenging, more crucial and more fulfilling than ever. In 2018, we’re forging new partnerships and doubling down on existing initiatives to keep pace with the shifting industry and empower more people to find career opportunities in retail.

Rising up

In January, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of RISE Up, our training and credentialing program designed to help people — regardless of education, background, economic means or age — acquire the skills they need to secure jobs in retail and advance into promising careers.

Since launch, we’ve worked with hundreds of delivery partners across the country to train more than 26,000 learners, showing that good jobs change lives

To make sure we’re maximizing potential for these jobs, this year we’re amplifying our reach and fine-tuning our training materials to ensure they’re relatable to learners across all demographics and experience levels. By the end of 2018, we aim to equip an additional 50,000 individuals with RISE Up credentials.

We’re also looking at ways to better connect credentialed learners and local hiring managers, like we did in Baltimore. Timing is key, and if we can play a role in connecting the right person to the right retailer at the right time, everyone wins.

Engaging with workforce boards

Shaping retail’s future takes a village — many villages, in every city around the country. To impact people at a significant scale, we need to embed ourselves with groups that have a hand in job seekers’ success. That’s why we’re prioritizing workforce development boards this year as a key part of our strategy in 2018.

As dedicated public servants that help people find job training and employment, workforce boards play an important role for the companies and industries in the communities they serve across the country. These groups are a natural and mutually beneficial partner for retail, the nation’s largest private-sector employer. Wherever there’s a workforce board helping job seekers, there are retailers with hiring needs and valuable career opportunities.

We recently partnered with the National Association of Workforce Boards to strengthen retail’s relationship with workforce boards and find ways we can collaborate to help more people in cities around the country become prepared for and secure jobs in retail. Through this partnership and beyond, we are actively inserting retail into the conversation among our nation’s 550 workforce boards, educating its leaders on the transformation happening in retail and connecting them with local employers to help more people find jobs.

This audience is so core to our strategy that we’re hosting an exclusive event for workforce board leaders in October, the Retail Works Summit. This event will illustrate the industry’s changing landscape and abundant career pathways, demonstrate the breadth of retail jobs that lead to meaningful careers and share retailers’ existing talent challenges. We expect dozens of retailers to attend and interact extensively with workforce board leaders about opportunities in their communities. Workforce leaders will be exposed to the untapped potential retail holds and, together, retail executives and workforce board leaders will walk away with new connections and clear steps forward to enable dynamic partnerships.


Helping retail’s future leaders advance

Retail holds opportunity for everyone. Whether a college graduate looking for their first full-time job or someone seeking to re-enter the workforce with a part-time position, retail offers meaningful careers with mobility and flexibility. In the coming year — and for many years after — the Foundation will find new ways to beat the drum on this anthem.

While our work shaping retail’s future will never be done, I know the Foundation’s next chapter will be its most powerful yet.

Learn more about the Foundation’s work with RISE Up.