Reshaping Federal Training | The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership

Walmart's Global Responsibility Report 2016
Jul 26, 2016 10:45 AM ET

As featured in the Walmart Global Responsibility Report 2016

In the U.S., most federal funds for workforce training are distributed through a network of 600 regional workforce investment boards (WIBs). But these funds are rarely invested in training or upskilling for the retail sector.

In fact, usually WIBs’ only interaction with retail comes through training workers to leave the sector. With a 2015 grant of nearly $11 million issued over 27 months, the Walmart Foundation has engaged the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (the Partnership) to create a WIB-based upskilling program that can serve as a national model for retail advancement. Chicago was a pioneer in sector-based training, specifically in retail, more than 10 years ago. As the second largest WIB in the country, the Partnership administers more than $60 million in federal and private aid to a network of 49 agencies in the Chicagoland region and is recognized as a national leader on workforce reform.

The grant will support the expansion of the Partnership’s retail sector hospitality center so that it can provide employers, current workers and job seekers with skills training in sales, customer service, logistics, merchandising and management. It will also focus on the work of WIBs throughout the country by initiating a capacity-building pilot with 10 other WIBs and by engaging in a nationwide effort to improve the perception of retail career possibilities. The Partnership will join the Walmart Community of Practice, where those working to build a stronger ecosystem in retail training and advancement are collaborating to learn and advance the field more quickly.

Learn more about Walmart's commitments to creating opportunity in the 2016 Global Responsibility Report