Hiring employees with the soft skills and hard skills needed for the ever-evolving retail industry is a major challenge for retail employers. Washington Retail has identified an exciting venture to bring to Washington State to fill this gap. We are looking for partners to channel students to fulfilling careers in retail.
- Five training partners to adopt the National Retail Federations RISE Up Program to demonstrate its effectiveness. School districts or colleges in underserved areas will be given preferences.
- Potential employers who are willing to offer a job interview opportunity to students upon completion of at least one of the three Rise Up courses.
Retail is a critical sector to our state’s economy. Retail sales taxes contribute 51% of our state’s operation fund and grew by almost 10% in 2018. There are about 400,000 retail jobs in our state. Employers are finding it challenging to hire employees with basic soft job skills (customer service, problem-solving, communication) and hard job skills (marketing, basic business operations, safety).
Filling this work readiness gap is not only about supporting businesses, it is also about providing a bright career pathway for high school and college students. We are excited to find a variety of retail education courses in our state and promising successes in other states that could be replicated here.
Current offerings identified include:
- A few community colleges in our state offer retail courses. The South Puget Sound Community College’s Student Employment Programs provided this list: Bellevue College, Highline College, Lower Columbia College, Olympia College, Pierce College, and the Tacoma Community College.
- The Center for Onboarding and Advancement in Retail (COAR) is providing a series of free workshops in November and December for anyone interested in building a career in retail. Denise Johnson with Port Jobs is the contact person to inquire and/or register. 206-787-6780 [email protected]
At the national level, the National Retail Foundation Student Program organizes a Career Fair in New York City every January to provide an exclusive opportunity for college students to hear from the leaders of exciting global brands, hear their visionary ideas, connect with hiring managers, and get tangible takeaways to start their careers.
Efforts to develop a credential program for Retail:
- The Office of Superintendent of Public Instructions Career and Technical Education Director is about to launch an effort to develop a statewide industry training recommended list. Learning of this initiative, Washington Retail has identified the RISE Up Program, a training and credential program created by the retail industry and the National Retail Federation Foundation to help develop the skills needed to secure a job in retail and advance into a promising career. In Ohio and Arizona, RISE Up has been approved for high schools and career-and-technical education centers throughout these states.
- Washington Retail intends to bridge the work-readiness gap by being the industry driver to promote the RISE Up program’s inclusion into the OSPI’s statewide industry recommended list.
Please contact me even if you just want to inquire about this venture. 360-200-6452 or [email protected]