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The newly created Dream BIG scholarship program from the National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation and the University of Phoenix will give 10 current retail employees full tuition at any University of Phoenix campus or online program, enabling recipients to pair education with work experience and aspirations to pursue a wide array of retail career opportunities. The flexibility of the degree program allows scholarship winners to continue working at their present jobs and living at home while furthering their education.
“Whether they’re working in marketing, IT or finance, millions of people in our industry are living proof that retail career opportunities don’t end at the cash register,” noted Ellen Davis, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based foundation. “With over 20 million Americans eligible to apply for this scholarship, we can’t wait to hear the dreams and stories of those who hope to advance their retail career through education, and look forward to making those dreams a reality for 10 dedicated people in our industry.”
“Retail employees already dream big,” added University of Phoenix chief business operating officer Barry Feierstein. “Connecting driven, professional working learners with great careers is what we do. This education partnership and the Dream BIG Scholarship represent an important development in our long-term commitment to make higher education more responsive to the needs of both our students and our employer partners. Everyone benefits from having a highly educated and skilled workforce that can compete in an ever-increasingly connected and collaborative global economy.”
Eligibility is limited to the first 1,000 qualified applicants, who must meet all admissions requirements and submit a completed application by April 9. The application includes three written essays describing the entrant’s educational goals, aspirations within the industry, and what inspires him or her personally. Each applicant must also submit a letter of recommendation from a current retail professional with knowledge of the applicant’s skills and work ethic.
After being narrowed down by NRF and the University of Phoenix executives, the final scholarship recipients will be selected by a panel of retail and educational executives, chaired by Mindy Grossman, CEO of St. Petersburg, Fla.-based multichannel retailer HSNi. Recipients will be informed on July 30.
The flagship university of Phoenix-based Apollo Group Inc., the University of Phoenix offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the United States as well as online around the world.