Equipping education, workforce and HR professionals to unlock access to better jobs

A Good Path Toward Better Work

Posted On: February 27, 2018


Three local Goodwill® organizations have been selected to pilot an initiative that helps retail workers advance their careers. GoodPaths, made possible with a $2.5 million investment from the Walmart Foundation and support from the Hope Street Group, is a first-of-its-kind career navigation initiative aimed at the broader retail industry.

Goodwill organizations based in Houston, TX; Charleston, SC; and Great Falls, MT, have been selected to implement the initiative. Retail supports 1 in 4 American jobs, and that’s why it’s so important to invest in and retain valued employees.

According to a November 2016 survey by the Hay Group, 40 percent of the 66 retailers surveyed said they’ve seen an increase in employee turnover.  According to the survey, turnover rates were highest among hourly store employees at 65 percent, up from 57 percent in 2015. Along with turnover come significant operational expenses. In August 2016, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found an average cost of $4,129 per new hire related to turnover.

“Walmart and The Walmart Foundation are working to identify ways to accelerate the mobility of front line workers and we are excited by the potential of GoodPaths. Through its career navigation initiative, GoodPaths is designed to help retail employees gain the skills and knowledge they need to advance to the next level,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president of The Walmart Foundation. “That’s good for employees, their families, their employers and the local community.”

In the retail industry, workers are more likely to leave a job if they are unclear about expectations, if training and advancement opportunities are lacking, and if they don’t get positive recognition for their work. GoodPaths is directly addressing this issue by providing ongoing training opportunities and additional resources to support advancement and workplace growth.

“GoodPaths is built on a proven blueprint for connecting workers with the career path opportunities the retail sector has to offer,” said Martin Scaglione, president and CEO of Hope Street Group. “This initiative helps employers align their skills development efforts with their workforce, and in doing so, creates a win-win in terms of both advancement and wage growth for workers and retention for employers.”

Goodwill is leading by example and creating this tool in partnership with the Hope Street Group to reach the nation’s diverse realm of retail workers. The tool will provide the skills and knowledge necessary for advancement, including great customer service, communication, organization and leadership.

“With this investment, Goodwill team members across the country will be using cutting-edge resources when seeking jobs for youth and adults at our career centers,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “The new online model will provide information on opportunities in real-time, so that we can serve communities across the country even better.”

As the United States’ leading workforce development nonprofit, Goodwill is well-positioned to use the funds received to make the largest impact in retail job placement. Goodwill has helped people reach their full potential through the power of work since 1902.

The GoodPaths initiative is made possible as part of the Retail Opportunity Initiative, a five-year, $100 million sector-wide efforts launched by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation in 2015 aimed at making it easier for frontline workers to advance more quickly. GoodPaths is being executed in partnership with Hope Street Group, which works to strengthen America’s workforce by improving the alignment between employers, training providers, educators and individuals on the competencies and skills required for success in a given career path.

About Goodwill Industries International

Goodwill Industries International (GII) is a network of 162 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 13 other countries. GII is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit that is recognized by GuideStar with its Platinum Seal of Approval, the organization’s highest rating for charities. GII was also ranked by Enso as the #1 brand doing the most good in the world for two consecutive years, and was the only nonprofit brand rated in Forbes’ 20 most inspiring companies for three consecutive years. Local Goodwill organizations are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that create job training programs, employment placement and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,200 stores collectively and online at shopgoodwill.com®. Local Goodwill organizations also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food services preparation, and document imaging and shredding. Last year, local Goodwill organizations collectively placed more than 313,000 people in employment in the United States and Canada. In addition, more than 35 million people used computers and mobile devices to access Goodwill education, training, mentoring and online learning services to strengthen their skills, and more than 2 million people received in person services. To learn more, visit goodwill.org.

For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, use the online locator at Goodwill.org or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook: GoodwillIntl or Instagram: GoodwillIntl.

About Hope Street Group

Hope Street Group (HSG) is a not-for-profit focused on ensuring every American has access to economic opportunity through education and a career path that offers advancement and income growth.  With funding from Walmart Giving, HSG manages the Retail Opportunity Network, a collection of 50+ organizations working collaboratively to drive system change by developing ways to make it easier for frontline retail workers to advance in their careers.  To learn more, visit hopestreetgroup.org and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @HopeStreetGroup