NRF Launches RISE Up Education and Credentialing Program to Help People Secure Jobs in Retail

Nation’s largest retailers including The Home Depot, The Kroger Co., Lowe’s, Macy’s, Target and Walmart pledge support

NEW YORK CITY, January 15, 2017 – The NRF Foundation announced today that it has brought together dozens of retailers and nonprofits to launch RISE Up (Retail Industry Skills & Education), a groundbreaking new training and credentialing initiative designed by the retail industry 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. From in-store to digital and mobile commerce, RISE Up is designed to build competencies and pathways for the workforce of the future. 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.

“Good jobs change lives, and retail doesn’t just provide first jobs, but opportunities for lifelong careers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “RISE Up helps the people who need it the most, and helps retailers address recurring talent challenges —  including reducing the time needed to hire and train new associates and decreasing turnover.”

RISE Up begins with Retail Industry Fundamentals, a 15-module formal training program 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.

“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, HSNi CEO, 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.”

Over the past eighteen months, the NRF Foundation has worked with dozens of retailers, nonprofit partners and foundations to build Retail Industry Fundamentals, which ensures that the skills and training it provides meet industry needs, and that the materials created are user-friendly for nonprofit and education partners. Initial funding for the development of RISE Up was made possible by a capacity-building grant from the Walmart Foundation.

Disney Store

Paul Gainer, EVP of Disney Retail: “We are honored to be a part of this new initiative and applaud the NRF Foundation for its forward-thinking efforts in the space of talent education and cultivation. RISE Up aligns with Disney Store’s core values, which emphasize the crucial role our Cast Members play in creating magical guest experiences on a daily basis. We take great pride in how we hire, train and foster our talent, and we look forward to sharing those insights through this innovative program.”

Dress for Success Worldwide

Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success Worldwide: “Dress for Success values the relationship with the NRF Foundation and its alignment with our mission and vision of empowering women to achieve economic independence so that they thrive in work and in life. In our joint efforts to provide women with sustainable jobs in the retail sector as well as the confidence and determination to add to their portable and stackable skills, we see the benefits to both employees and employers, increasing job retention and providing upward mobility and increased economic stability for the women we serve, for their families and in their local economies.”

The Home Depot

Ann-Marie Campbell, executive vice president of The Home Depot U.S. Stores: “We’re thrilled to be a part of educating and attracting the future leaders of retail through the NRF Foundation’s RISE Up initiative. The ability to create a lifelong, rewarding career in retail has been a well-kept secret for far too long.”

About RISE Up

RISE Up, an industry-led initiative run by the NRF Foundation, helps people build careers that are both challenging and rewarding through hands-on learning and credentials. Available through nonprofit and public education partners, it provides entry-level workers the skills and education needed to get a job in retail and advance their careers. RISE Up is part of RISE (Retail Industry Skills & Education), a broader retail education and credentialing program led by the National Retail Federation.

About the NRF Foundation

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.

See more of our NRF coverage here

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