Lives Empowered

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Colorado, and the nation, are experiencing record low unemployment and labor participation rates, along with high misalignment of skills needed to fill jobs. Industries with low barriers for entry level positions are attracting low-skilled workers, but effective strategies for retaining and upskilling those workers are not widely spread.

Lives Empowered brings together retail businesses interested in working collaboratively to increase economic mobility for frontline workers across Colorado and contribute to a strong economy. Lives Empowered is made possible by a $4.1 million grant from Walmart to the Colorado Workforce Development Council.

Watch the Lives Empowered Stakeholder Webinar
*video begins at minute mark 7:40*

Why Retail?

Retail is a springboard to greater economic opportunity in Colorado.

By the numbers:

  • 51 of 64 Colorado counties project growth in retail during the next decade
  • Colorado is the eighth fastest-growing state for jobs in retail
  • 99 percent of retail businesses employ fewer than 50 people

View the Colorado Retail Landscape Analysis for insight into how retail drives the Colorado economy and a breakdown of statewide and regional retail data. 


Connect Your Business With Lives Empowered

Does your retail, hospitality, or food-service business struggle to find talent, retain and upskill great employees, and respond to the rapidly changing needs of your industry?

Sector partnerships across Colorado are developing solutions to these common issues. The Lives Empowered initiative is helping to foster more of these successful partnerships across the state as well as providing upskilling opportunities for existing retail workers.

In Colorado, business success is amplified through a collaborative market culture. Yes, businesses must compete, yet to achieve optimal growth, they must also collaborate regionally in areas where acting individually cannot address the common economic and social needs that are integral to achieving business priorities.

Learn more about launching a retail sector partnership in your region.



Professional Hospitality Career Path Certification Training

Colorado Retail Landscape Analysis


Launch of Lives Empowered

On Dec. 4, 2018, the Colorado Workforce Development Council became the first state government entity to receive a $4 million dollar investment from Walmart to support workforce development through the Lives Empowered initiative. Over the next three years, the CWDC will work with local and regional communities to support and sustain the launch of up to 10 retail sector partnerships committed to piloting upskilling training for incumbent retail workers.

To learn more about the Lives Empowered grant announcement, check out the following links:

Lives Empowered Press Release

Lives Empowered Launch - Event Recap

Lives Empowered Launch - Full Video

$4M Walmart grant will seed program to train Colorado retail workers for better jobs - Denver Business Journal

Walmart Foundation Donates Millions For New Training Program In Colorado - CBS Denver

Walmart Announces More than $4 Million in Support to the State of Colorado to Empower the Retail Workforce - Business Wire


Lives Empowered Contacts

Renise Walker, Senior Consultant and Project Sponsor

Colleen Wohnoutka, Retail Sector Partnerships

Bobbie Wolfe, Retail Career Pathways

Jayneah Jackson, Lives Empowered Grant Coordinator