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Walmart donates nearly $1M to help retail's front line


Walmart is one step closer to fulfilling its mission of donating $100 million toward increasing the economic mobility of entry-level workers.

The retailer and its Walmart Foundation are donating nearly $1 million to Innovate+Educate to fund research and build recommendations that support the advancement of entry-level workers in retail and adjacent sectors.

The grant is the first of its kind to help incumbent entry-level employees in retail attain higher paying jobs based on articulated skills and competencies from the employers in a select region.

“We chose Dallas, Texas, as the first site for this exciting work. After analyzing the labor data provided by Burning Glass Technologies and other sources, doing site selection interviews, and learning more about the work on the ground already underway in pathways by Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas and the Dallas Regional Chamber, we felt confident this was a great place to implement the work and create a model to scale,” stated Jamai Blivin, CEO, Innovate+Educate.

Blivin stated that there are thousands of unfilled retail jobs in the Dallas area, many of them middle-skill jobs, and a great network of employers that appear willing to move to a competency-based hiring and training model for incumbent workers that will not only impact retail but also adjacent sectors such as grocery, pharmacy, telecommunications and banking/finance.

“Through an innovative approach, Innovate+Educate is working to better define the requirements needed to help today’s entry-level workers advance in their careers to attain middle-skills jobs,” said Gayatri Agnew, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Walmart Giving. “Gathering this first-hand research is a unique and valuable mechanism to create an important blueprint that will help companies build clear pathways and training programs for advancement, ultimately supporting the economic mobility of workers nationwide.”

Earlier this year America’s largest retailer launched the Opportunity Initiative to help the retail industry close the skills gap that keeps many Americans out of jobs. The donation entails a series of grants as part of a five-year, $100 million commitment.

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