The Walmart Foundation is giving a Chicago and Cook County workforce agency $10.9 million to provide education and employment services for retail workers.
The grant will fund retail-oriented programs in Chicago and 10 other locations, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership CEO Karin Norington-Reaves said after the grant was announced at a National Association of Workforce Boards conference on Monday.
The organization, formed in 2012, provides free services to job seekers and businesses and is among the largest workforce agencies in the country, with a roughly $60 million budget, and administers federal, public and private funding to 53 institutions, Norington-Reaves said.
About a third of the grant money will fund local programs, including a new center where the Chicago Cook organization will provide retail-focused training for new employees preparing for a first job and current workers looking to advance their careers, Norington-Reaves said. Courses range from interpersonal skills that help employees succeed in the workplace to more technical customer service and retail programs that might help an employee qualify for certification through the National Retail Federation.