Walmart Announces $4 Million Grant to Support the CWDC and Retail Workforce Development

Dec. 10, 2018 - On Tuesday, Dec. 4, the CWDC joined with Governor Hickenlooper, Walmart, and the Denver Office of Economic Development at the state Capitol to announce the Lives Empowered retail upskilling grant. The four million dollar grant from Walmart will help the CWDC launch up to 10 new retail sector partnerships across the state and create advancement opportunities for retail workers through training and upskilling. The funding is Walmart’s first grant to a Colorado state agency to support workforce development.

CDLE Executive Director and CWDC Managing Director Sam Walker opened Tuesday’s press event by highlighting how this unique partnership will create doors to new opportunities for both individuals and businesses in Colorado. He then introduced Julie Gehrki, vice president of the Walmart Foundation, who took the opportunity to discuss Walmart’s journey in workforce transformation. She emphasized their excitement about making frontline retail jobs a springboard to a career and their commitment to strengthening the retail workforce beyond Walmart’s walls by collaborating with the CWDC and other public and private partners.

Governor Hickenlooper also stressed the importance of public-private collaboration during his remarks on Tuesday. He discussed how government must work with businesses, non-profits, and other necessary parties to start a cultural shift towards a collaborative market culture, enabling the business community to empower individuals to advance their careers. The work resulting from this grant will be a model of collaborative partnership that can be replicated across the nation, furthering Colorado’s role as a leader in workforce development.

Gov. Hickenlooper delivers his remarks at the Capitol on Dec. 4. (AP Images/Chip Litherland)

The press event ended with remarks from Eric Hiraga, executive director of Denver OED, who cited retail as the largest employment industry in the Denver Metro area and highlighted success stories of Denver service sector workers who have benefited from previous workforce development grants and programs. The statewide Lives Empowered initiative will build on the success of the Denver Retail Sector Partnership, convened by Denver OED, and help scale their retail upskilling work across the state.

The CWDC is proud to be involved in this partnership and is excited to start working with our partners to advance opportunities for retail sector workers in Colorado and beyond. To learn more about the Lives Empowered grant announcement, check out the following links:

$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

The CWDC office team at the Lives Empowered press event