Hope Street Group Announces $627,500 Grant from the Walmart Foundation to Build Collaboration and the Exchange of Best Practices Among Organizations Supporting the Advancement of Retail Workers Nationwide

October 13, 2015

Washington, DC – On Thursday at the Close It Summit 2015 in Washington, D.C., Hope Street Group will formally announce that it will lead a new collaborative effort to harness the shared learnings of key organizations in retail and adjacent sectors through a Retail Community of Practice made possible by a $627,500 grant from the Walmart Foundation. The Retail Community of Practice will help integrate and advance the work of grantees within the Walmart and Walmart Foundation’s Opportunity Initiative announced earlier this year. The initiative represents a $100 million commitment from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation over five years to help increase the economic mobility of entry level workers.

To maximize and stimulate opportunities for enhanced impact across the initiative, Hope Street Group is managing the selected grantee community to create a trusted space where workforce practitioners, service providers and subject matter experts can connect to strengthen their knowledge, expertise and coordination in preparing retail workers for career growth and advancement.

“Through our Opportunity Initiative, we are working to develop clear career maps and innovative training programs that will help more retail workers advance in their careers. But we certainly can’t do it alone, as progress will require collective action across the retail industry,” said Gayatri Agnew, Director of Career Opportunity for the Walmart Foundation. “Hope Street Group is playing an essential role in gathering and sharing best practices among our grant partners so we work together to integrate our programs and align on the skills required for advancement and the most effective training methods that will help increase the economic mobility of the retail workforce.”

The Retail Community of Practice represents a unique approach to grantmaking with the goal of improved coordination and measurable outcomes among grantees. Together, grantees will build relationships and deepen their networks with local and national cross-sector innovators working on the issue of improving career pathways for individuals working in retail and adjacent sectors. In partnership, they will problem-solve on shared challenges and leverage each other’s work to achieve maximum collective impact. Ultimately, the Community will align efforts under a shared blueprint for change.

“The path for today’s job seekers has transformed​ and will continue to evolve​. The old systems and tools underpinning the U.S. jobs marketplace are failing us, both reducing productivity and undermining national talent potential,” said Martin Scaglione, CEO of Hope Street Group. “The Retail Community of Practice is an important step towards bringing all stakeholders together to work around a shared vision and blueprint to create a new system that can respond to our changing world.”

Member organizations of the Retail Community of Practice include:

Achieving the Dream
ACT Foundation
Aspen Institute
Dress for Success
Goodwill Industries International
Innovate + Educate
Jobs for the Future
McKinsey Social Initiative
National Able Network
National Immigration Forum
National Retail Federation Foundation
New Profit

“In collaboration with the Walmart Foundation and the Hope Street Group, Goodwill will continue to leverage its expertise as the leading provider of job placement and training services to have a nationwide economic impact,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Our Careers in Retail Initiative is a new career-training program designed to equip experienced, entry-level retail employees with the skills and credentials to advance to in-demand, mid-level retail positions. Goodwill is privileged to have the opportunity to work with these leading organizations to increase our collective impact in the retail industry.”

To learn more about the Retail Community of Practice and its impact on preparing the next generation of retail employees visit Hope Street Group online.

Hope Street Group is a national organization that works to ensure every American will have access to tools and options leading to economic opportunity and prosperity. For more information, visit: http://www.hopestreetgroup.org.

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