Retail America Podcast

On November 7-8 th HSG, together with our co-hosts the National Fund for Workforce Solutions and Central Iowa Works, will convene RON members for our fall convening to network, collaborate and share best practices. The theme is “From Preparation to Practice: Transformation of the Retail Ecosystem” and will include a tour of Hy-Vee’s employee training center and a local store. Our keynote speaker for the convening is Jerry L. Hawkins, Director of the Dallas Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation initiative.

Hope Street Group launched the Retail Opportunity Network (RON), funded by Walmart Giving’s $100 million Opportunity Initiative, in 2015. RON is a collection of more than 50 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. This includes:

  • Generating and sharing insights into retail as a sector of opportunity,
  • Building effective approaches to retail training and advancement, and
  • Engaging retail employers to improve the ecosystem


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]




Hope Street Group manages ongoing engagement with and among RON members, including hosting bi-annual convenings of network members, on-demand webinars, regular communications via newsletter and email alerts, and other strategies to strengthen collaboration and share best practices for driving system change. Learn more about our membership by clicking on our Retail Opportunity Network Member Map.

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