Hope Street Group Announces Recipients of National Retail Challenge Awards

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 

Hope Street Group is pleased to announce the five winners of the $150,000 National Retail Challenge. The organizations with winning proposals are:

1.  Corporation for a Skilled Workforce

2.  Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Center of Education Excellence and Talent Development

3.  Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain

4.  Innovate+Educate

5.  Youth Job Center

Each of the winners best matched the criteria of adopting competency-based tools and training in the retail sector. The National Retail Challenge, made possible with funding granted by Walmart to ACT Foundation, recognizes the need to reengineer the workforce–spanning the training, hiring and promotion process–to support a rapidly evolving marketplace.

The National Retail Challenge was designed in response to the skills mismatch in the jobs market, created in part by poor signaling between employers, training providers and job candidates. This mismatch has led to unfilled jobs and high turnover rates for retail, the fourth largest industry in the United States, employing 16 million people.

“We believe the five organizations selected have proposed plans that will be highly effective at leveraging the prize funds to adopt competency-based methods and tools, bringing us one step closer to reengineering the workforce system,” Martin Scaglione, President and CEO of Hope Street Group, announced. “In addition, their efforts to advance competency-based career pathways and effectively fill the jobs of today and tomorrow, will further support the Sync Our Signals initiative.”

The National Retail Challenge called for proposals promoting the use of an open-sourced technology platform and a commitment to promoting competency based career pathways driven by a cross-sector competency model for working learners, learning providers and employers.. The career maps ensure employers know what skills they should look for in candidates; training providers know what competencies to teach in an educational environment; and individuals are better equipped to get the skills for the career paths they want.

“Too often job seekers, employers, schools and other training providers speak completely different languages when it comes to the skills needed to obtain and succeed in jobs,” remarked Monica Herk, Vice President, Education Research at the Committee for Economic Development. “The National Retail Challenge is an exciting and important opportunity for these three groups to come together using new technologies that communicate the skills people need to have successful careers in the retail sector.”

Find a list of winners and their proposals below:

Corporation for a Skilled Workforce

Corporation for a Skilled Workforce will use the Beta Credentials Framework to define customer service and retail sales competencies along a developmental pathway to guide employee growth, help improve supervisors’ capacity to identify and recognize growth and align support among retail employers, workforce investment boards/One Stops, training providers and eligible trainees placed in entry-level positions.

Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Center of Education Excellence and Talent Development 

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Center of Education Excellence and Talent Development will develop and implement a competency-based interactive tool, helping L.A.’s transition-age foster youth prepare to earn, retain and develop careers with the nation’s largest retail and grocery chains.

Easter Seals – Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain

Easter Seals Goodwill, Northern Rocky Mountain Careers in Retail will bring forth their successful retail curriculum and employer engagement practices to place and advance retail workers into middle skills roles, and utilize online tools to continue vital collaboration and feedback shared with employers, learning providers and researchers, making data regarding hiring and evaluation purposes more readily available to each group.


Innovate+Educate will further develop and promote the SEEK platform connecting job seekers, incumbent workers, and employers resulting in economic success for all.

Youth Job Center

Youth Job Center will integrate technological applications into its Lasting Impact Initiative, a retention and career advancement program focused on further developing skill sets for young adults after they are placed in retail and customer service positions.

About Sync our Signals and the Retail Community of Practice

Since 2015, as a part of their larger Sync Our Signals (SOS) initiative, Hope Street Group has been managing the Walmart Foundation Retail Community of Practice (CoP). The CoP is part of Walmart and Walmart Foundation’s Opportunity initiative, a $100 million commitment to help increase the economic mobility of entry level workers in the retail sector. To maximize and stimulate opportunities for enhanced impact across the initiative, the CoP serves as 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.

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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