NRF Foundation Launches RISE Up, a New Job Training Program
The NRF Foundation announced yesterday at the retail trade association's annual Big Show event in New York City that it has brought together dozens of retailers and nonprofits to launch RISE Up (Retail Industry Skills & Education), a new training and credentialing initiative designed by the retail industry to help people acquire the skills they need to secure jobs in retail and advance into promising careers.
To date, 21 companies have joined the initiative, including Ashley Stewart, BJ's Wholesale Club, Brooks Brothers, The Container Store, Disney Store, The Home Depot, HSNi, The Kroger Co., L.L.Bean, Lowe's Companies Inc., Macy’s, Neiman Marcus Group, Pilot Flying J, Target, Tractor Supply Company, Under Armour, Vera Bradley, Wal-Mart, The Wendy’s Company, White Castle and Williams-Sonoma Inc.
RISE Up centers around Retail Industry Fundamentals, a formal training program for entry-level retail associates in distribution centers, call centers and stores. The new training program will give prospective employees knowledge in areas like retail tools and technologies, customer service, retail math, inventory, and interview skills. The training can be delivered in the classroom — or online — to people of all backgrounds, ages and education levels.
Upon successful completion of an exam, RISE Up participants will not only walk away with a credential for their resumes, but also the skills and confidence to take the first step toward a successful career in the retail industry. RISE Up is available through nonprofit and public education partners, and can also be used directly by retail companies to train and advance existing employees.
"The idea that we're truly standing together and collaborating as an industry is so exciting," said Bill Brand, president, HSN and chief marketing officer, HSNi, at a press conference announcing the launch of RISE Up.
“At Ashley Stewart, we want every woman to have the confidence she needs to succeed and reach her goals, " said James Rhee, executive chairman and CEO of the plus-size woman's apparel retailer, who also spoke at the press conference. "We're proud to support RISE Up, as together we seek to empower all of our current and future employees through education, training and skills to launch and enjoy successful careers.”
A key part of the Rise Up program for retailers is the credentials piece. The idea is that prospective employers which hire individuals who have received RISE Up credentials can onboard them more easily and spend less time training them, saving them money in the process.
"We will tell our store managers to look for these credentials when hiring," said Rhee. "This will help speed the process of hiring."
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Melissa Campanelli is Editor-in-Chief of Total Retail. She is an industry veteran, having covered all aspects of retail, tech, digital, e-commerce, and marketing over the past 20 years. Melissa is also the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.