The Capital STEM Alliance hosted its 3rd Annual Cross-Sector Summit on October 11 at Centralia College with a line-up of speakers from education, non-profits, and businesses to promote partnerships. Rose Gundersen, Washington Retail’s VP of Operations and Retail Services presented “Retail Careers’ intersection with DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) and STEM” (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
Gundersen’s presentation informed attendees of the significance of the retail industry and shed light on the importance of coordinating apprenticeships and workforce and the diverse promising career pathways they offer.
Key messages of the presentation:
- Retail jobs are abundant and diverse: Retail is the second largest employer in Washington State and offers diverse pathways for people of all passions.
- Investing in retail workers advances DEI: People of color make up 38% of frontline retail workers and are the fastest-growing consumer base.
- Most retail career pathways require STEM-related skills and knowledge, such as business finance and accounting, data analytics, material science, engineering in material science or operations, information and technology, etc.
- RISE Up is a set of four certifications developed by retailers. They are suitable as entry points for students and first-time or second-chance job seekers. Retail experience provides quick promoting opportunities to multiple pathways.
- Corporate retail recruiters prefer people with frontline retail experience. Practical customer interaction experience is crucial in making informed decisions at the corporate level.·
- STEM and the retail industry are directly related to creating diverse career pathways.
WR is thankful to the Capital Region Education Service District 113 for the opportunity to promote retail workforce training and further our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) principles.