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As part of a larger $100 million commitment over five years to foster economic mobility for retail workers, including a planned pay raise for its own associates, Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the Walmart Foundation will give $16 million to seven nonprofit organizations to address some major challenges to advancement.
The grants will help more than 12,000 retail and related-sector workers get the knowledge and training they need to rise in their careers through programs offered by Achieving the Dream ($1 million grant), The ACT Foundation ($2.265 million), Dress for Success ($2.58 million), Goodwill Industries ($3 million), Jobs for the Future ($3 million), McKinsey Social Initiative ($3.2 million) and the National Able Network ($1 million). The programs provide skills training, job placement support and interactive maps to identify career paths within retail and adjacent sectors.
"We believe progress requires collective action in the industry to align on the skills required for advancement and to develop more innovative, effective, and universally used training and assessments that recognize on-the-job learning," said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and SVP of corporate affairs. "Ultimately, we aim to increase economic mobility of the U.S. retail workforce as a whole."
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation's ultimate aim through the $100 million Opportunity initiative is to help many of the 15 million people currently working in retail, among them 7 million women. The tools and practices the foundation develops will enable it to support programs that directly help 50,000 people, including 30,000 workers moving from entry-level to middle-skills jobs.