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FHI 360 teams with Walmart Foundation to promote career advancement for retail employees

March 04, 2016

DURHAM, NC — Through a two-year grant from the Walmart Foundation, FHI 360 will conduct an educational and marketing initiative to promote career advancement among retail employees in the United States, particularly those in marginalized communities. The initiative is part of the foundation’s larger effort to help increase the economic mobility of entry-level workers in retail and adjacent sectors.

worker in storeMany consider retail jobs to be low-skill or dead-end positions, but data show these jobs can help workers gain valuable foundational skills, such as teamwork, communication skills, customer focus, analysis and problem solving, flexibility, attention to detail, adherence to deadlines, taking initiative, responsibility and cultural awareness. Such foundational skills equip workers for higher-level positions within retail and in other sectors. 

The goals of the initiative, to be launched in Baltimore and Chicago in early 2017, are to educate retail workers and employers in both retail and other sectors about the value of retail work experience and associated skills and to promote skills development and career advancement opportunities. These goals will be achieved through formative research with employees and employers to inform education and marketing strategies, tools and materials; media outreach; and partner engagement. The intention is to develop successful strategies and products that can be replicated in other communities.

As a foundation grantee, FHI 360 will also participate in the Walmart Retail Community of Practice, which fosters knowledge sharing, innovation and collaboration among retail and adjacent sectors.

“Our aim is to build awareness that motivated retail workers can develop a set of foundational job skills that will pave the way for their career growth going forward, whether they remain in the retail environment or move into another sector,” said Todd Phillips, Director, Social Marketing and Communication at FHI 360. “In the long run, we hope to see increased advancement opportunities for retail workers and increased hiring of employees with retail experience across sectors.”

Read a press release from the Walmart Foundation.

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