- Walmart will provide Generation, a nonprofit global youth employment group, a $4.8 million grant to launch its Retail Career Advancement program. The program, based in Jacksonville, Florida, will support training and career advancement for the area's retail industry.
- The grant will target more than 1,000 incumbent workers in the area, providing a free, six-week program that teaches decision-making skills, ethics, sales tactics, theft reduction and customer care. After successful completion, the students earn a nationally recognized certificate from the National Retail Federation. Trainees are also offered mentor connections for personal and professional support, including the opportunity to participate in mock interviews.
- The training aims to address the skills gap and provide a steady applicant flow of potential retail and food service managerial staff.
The grant is part of the Walmart Foundation’s Retail Opportunity Initiative. The five-year, $100 million program was launched in 2015 with the goal of making it easier for front-line workers to advance quickly in the sector.
With high turnover in the retail and food services sector, training that invests in established workers' abilities to grow within the industry could be a means to lower attrition. While some employees are promoted to management, they typically receive only on-the-job training. The program aims to address the larger, managerial skills needed to advance.
A number of high-profile employers, such as Google, have invested in skills training, especially in the tech space. But generally, employers in all industries seem to be picking up on the importance of employee development, especially now that unemployment is hovering around 4.1%, leaving businesses with smaller candidate pools.