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NRF launches job training initiative


The NRF Foundation has brought together leading retailers and non-profits to launch a job training and credentialing initiative called Rise Up (Retail Industry Skills & Education).

The program is 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 in every aspect of retail, from in-store to digital and mobile commerce, according to the NRF.

To date, 21 companies have come together to pledge their support for building the next generation of the retail workforce, including Ashley Stewart, BJ's Wholesale Club, Brooks Brothers, The Container Store, Disney Store, The Home Depot, HSNi, The Kroger Co., L.L.Bean, Lowe's Companies Inc., Macy’s, Neiman Marcus Group, Pilot Flying J, Target, Tractor Supply Company, Under Armour, Vera Bradley, Walmart, The Wendy’s Company, White Castle and Williams-Sonoma Inc.

“The retail industry’s greatest asset is the energy and talent of its workforce, and Rise Up will give more people the skills and knowledge they need to start successful careers in this dynamic field,” said Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSNi, outgoing NRF Foundation board chairman and incoming NRF board chairman. “Rise Up is a first-of-its-kind, industry-led solution that will help bridge the skills gap between job-seekers and the diverse opportunities offered by a career in retail, and I am proud to be a part of this game-changing initiative.”

The initiative begins with a 15-module formal training program (“retail industry fundamentals”) for entry-level retail associates in distribution centers, call centers or stores. It will give people a wide array of knowledge in areas like retail tools and technologies, customer service, retail math, inventory and interview skills. The training can be delivered in the classroom — or online — to people of all backgrounds, ages and education levels.

Upon successful completion of an exam, these learners will not only walk away with a credential for their resumes, but also the skills and confidence to take the first step toward a successful career.

Rise Up is available through nonprofit and public education partners and can also be used directly by retail companies to train and advance existing employees.

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