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The National Retail Federation (NRF) has chosen 10 retail associates to receive full-tuition scholarships enabling them to further their careers in the industry by earning a bachelor’s or MBA degree online through University of Phoenix.
Launched in January 2013 and provided through a partnership between NRF’s nonprofit arm, the NRF Foundation, and University of Phoenix, "Dream BIG" was open to any associate working part-time or full-time for a retail company. Hundreds of people from more than 80 companies across the country applied, and in June a panel of top retail executives selected the 10 recipients.
The recipients include Erica Gordon-Roberts, human resources coordinator, Kroger, Lithonia, Ga. (MBA); Chaz Grunder, assistant manager, Stater Bros., Corona, Calif. (Bachelor’s degree); Erika Harrel, personnel clerk, Stater Bros., Riverside, Calif. (MBA); and Christine Liberto, pharmacist, Walmart, New Milford, Conn. (MBA).
“Retail offers richly rewarding and diverse career opportunities to hundreds of thousands of hard-working Americans,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based NRF. “The stories these individuals shared through their applications show that retail is more than just a job -- it is a fulfilling, challenging career path for those who work hard and want to achieve great things."
“The determination of these individuals deserves to be recognized,” added University of Phoenix COO Barry Feierstein. “The recipients of this scholarship are proof that you can pursue your career goals and an education in tandem -- a guiding principle at Arizona-based University of Phoenix. The economy needs an educated and skilled workforce, and the Dream BIG Scholarship will help make that happen for 10 deserving people.”
Among the judging panel, which met in June 2013 to select the 10 recipients, were H-E-B CIO Gavin Gallagher; NRF Foundation executive director Ellen Davis; University of Phoenix assistant dean of the School of Business Kevin Wilhelmsen; University of Phoenix associate dean of the School of Business Alisa Fleming; Walmart VP of International Mergers & Acquisitions Leslie Fletcher; and Winn-Dixie VP Loss Prevention Dan Faketty.
University of Phoenix and NRF plan to run the Dream BIG program again in 2014. Those interested can register online.