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UCC selected for National Program for Retail Workers

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UCC to work in collaboration with the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC).

ROSEBURG, Oregon – The League for Innovation in the Community College announced a $2.9 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to develop a three-part credentialing program for retail workers. Umpqua Community College (UCC) is among a small number of community colleges across the country to be chosen to participate in the program, Brighter Futures 3.0, which will build on the success of the Western Association of Food Chains’ (WAFC) Retail Management Certificate (RMC). UCC is the only community college to be chosen on the west coast.

Over the 2.5 year period of the grant, the selected colleges, based in urban, suburban and rural areas, will work with retail employers who are committed to the RMC as the credential for the advancement of their existing workforce. It is anticipated that more than 1,200 incumbent retail workers will be enrolled in the program, which seeks to break the RMC into three portable and stackable certificate programs, allowing workers a more flexible and manageable way to ultimately earn the full certificate. The League for Innovation and the WAFC will disseminate the best practices from the project to other community colleges throughout the country.

The project aims to scale the retail management certificate that is currently offered at over 150 community colleges in 13 western states and one state in the Midwest in cooperation with the WAFC. Participating colleges will offer the credit certificate to incumbent workers at local and regional retail employers.

In addition to UCC, the following community colleges also received funding:

  • Alexandria Technical and CC (Minn.)
  • Anne Arundel Community College (Md.)
  • Austin Community College (Texas)
  • College of Lake County (Ill.)
  • Nashville State Community College (Tenn.)
  • Moraine Valley Community College (Ill.)
  • San Jacinto Community College District (Texas)
  • Sinclair Community College (Ohio)
  • Wayne County Community College District (Mich.)

In announcing the grants, League President and CEO, Dr. Rufus Glasper, expressed confidence that the Walmart Brighter Futures project will have a positive impact beyond the selected colleges. “The Walmart Brighter Futures 3.0 project will lead to best practices that will expand the capacity of community colleges to enhance job training opportunities for incumbent workers. The League will be delighted to share the work of the participating colleges with colleges around the country,” said Glasper.

The selected community colleges will receive up to $100,000 over the duration of the grant to support the colleges’ plans to provide services for retail employees. Additionally, the colleges will leverage instructional stipends to support participant enrollment in courses leading to the retail management certificate.

Dr. Debra Thatcher, the President of UCC says, “We are proud to partner with national and local retailers to provide a new approach for the education of their workforce. UCC is appreciative of the generosity of the Walmart Foundation and the leadership of the League for Innovation in making this work possible.”

“We understand the long-term potential of credentialing to accelerate upward mobility of frontline retail workers, by helping retail workers demonstrate the skills they have gained to their current and prospective employers, while at the same time making it easier for employers to identify workers who have the skills they need,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “We know that this work is important for the retail industry at large and that’s why we’re supporting the League’s efforts to make this credential more accessible to thousands of retail workers seeking to gain new skills and grow in their careers.”

About Umpqua Community College

Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.