Funded by Walmart Giving’s $100 Million Retail Opportunity Initiative, Hope Street Group launched and facilitated the Retail Opportunity Network (RON) from 2015 — 2019. RON is a collection of over 70 organizations working collaboratively to drive system change for the U.S. retail workforce by developing ways to make it easier for frontline retail workers to advance in their careers. As the network’s facilitator, Hope Street Group collaborated with RON members to share best practices, collective learnings, and promote solutions designed to address signaling efficiencies across the retail sector. Learn more about their latest work with the RON by visiting retailopportunitynetwork.org.


RON members are changing how careers in retail are viewed by both workers and employers. Through a variety of competency-based strategies, RON members are creating greater access to entry-level jobs in retail and coupling that with training and development that demonstrate a clear career path for workers, so they have a better understanding of not only the opportunity for advancement, but what it takes to move up the ladder into middle-skill and management positions in retail.


With 1-in-4 jobs in the United States supported by retail, it is a crucial sector in our economy – and so are its 16 million workers. Retail jobs go beyond just sales jobs, and in fact, the sector offers a variety of desirable career opportunities for the American workforce – including jobs in software, IT, security and marketing, as well as careers in management.[1] Yet, retail has one of the highest turnover rates of any sector, meaning millions of Americans may be missing out on opportunities for a career path that offers advancement and income growth.[2]


Through points of connection Hope Street Group successfully helped RON members adopt or adapt new tools and technologies, increased collaboration between RON members, codified shared learning across organizations and amplified the role of retail as a sector of opportunity.


As a result of the RON efforts, Hope Street Group was able to identify best practices and explore opportunities for innovative solutions that could have significant impact on the retail industry. One such opportunity was an immersion into how intermediaries (e.g., talent professionals, career navigators and mentors) if properly trained, could prepare individuals for advancement and a viable career pathway within retail. This learning gave rise to an initiative called Skilling America and its predecessor GoodPaths which was a collaborative effort with Goodwill Industries International (GII).


Learn more about RON’s impact from 2015-2019 by reading our RON Impact Report.

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