Retail Industry’s New Training Effort Wants to Build Better Workers

At least 20 major retailers are taking part in RISE Up, an education effort announced by the National Retail Federation Foundation this week.

The retail industry wants to solve its employee turnover problem, and the nonprofit foundation of the association that represents many of those retailers is ready to lead the way.

The National Retail Federation, currently in the midst of Retail’s BIG Show (its annual tradeshow taking place in New York City), announced a new initiative through its NRF Foundation that would boost training and education opportunities for retail workers.

RISE (Retail Industry Skills & Education) Up, as the initiative is called, will allow job seekers to take part in educational courses that will offer three levels of renewable certifications—Retail Industry Fundamentals, Customer Service and Sales, and Advanced Customer Service and Sales.

The courses offered by the foundation can be taken either in classrooms (through the help of NRF’s nonprofit or public school partners) or through an online portal. Credentials, once received, will be good for three years.

More than 20 companies, including Walmart, Macy’s, Kroger, and The Container Store, are said to be taking part in the initiative, which is targeting all employable age groups. The foundation says the initiative was the result of 18 months of collaboration with a variety of stakeholders.

“Good jobs change lives, and retail doesn’t just provide first jobs, but opportunities for lifelong careers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a news release. “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.”

At a session during Retail’s BIG Show on Sunday, executives from a number of the companies taking part in the endeavor, including Home Shopping Network (HSN) President Bill Brand, participated in a panel discussion on the initiative.

“What we all know is that change is constant,” Brand said, according to an NRF article on the session. “In the next five years, they say retail will change more than in the past 50 … Now is the time to think and act differently.”


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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