(WASHINGTON, DC) -- Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation today announced a $3 million initiative designed to help D.C. residents get the skills and training they need to gain employment. The program will offer literacy, customer service and retail training to 2,000 District residents.
At an event at the D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) headquarters building, the Mayor was joined by Michelle Gilliard, Senior Director of the Walmart Foundation; DOES Director Lisa Mallory, Community College of the District of Columbia CEO Dr. Jonathan Gueverra; and D.C. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Barbara Lang.
“Walmart’s urban workforce development pilot initiative will help prepare the District’s residents with the workplace skills and training they need to compete for the good jobs our city is getting,” said Mayor Vincent Gray. “It is this type of public-private partnership – between the District government, academic institutions, business, community-based organizations and Walmart – that will provide the opportunity for D.C. residents to be part of the solution and create a better, stronger workforce and community.”
“Whenever you turn on the news, you are reminded that unemployment is a major issue in this country and in this city. It is a problem that has impacted countless D.C. residents for months and some for several years,” said Michelle Gilliard, senior director at the Walmart Foundation. “This initiative is designed to help thousands of men and women – especially those who have been chronically unemployed – gain the skills they need to be more competitive for jobs and get back to work, whether as Walmart associates or employees at other businesses across D.C. and the region.”
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have worked with the Community College of the District of Columbia and the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region to develop a two-pronged approach to ensure residents have access to a wide range of services:
• The Community College of the District of Columbia (CCDC) will provide job-readiness training to more than 1,000 D.C. residents. Specifically, training through a Retail Academy will prepare individuals for entry-level positions in the retail industry. The programs will also offer English literacy, math, computer literacy and customer-service training.
• Community Foundation for the National Capital Region will administer an open grant competition that will re-grant $1.3 million from the Walmart Foundation to local community-based organizations. The funding will support programs designed to improve residents’ skills – including programs in English for non-native speakers, computer literacy, math and customer-service training. For more information, visit http://www.thecommunityfoundation.org/.
All participants in the programs will have access to job recruitment, career counseling and placement services for customer-service opportunities at companies across D.C., including future Walmart stores.