The Graduate! Network aims to create among medium and small retailers a sense of possibility, urgency, excitement and action around developing a pipeline of tech-savvy retail workers and to showcase the future retail sector and associated career pathways. To that end, Graduate! is creating a multi-modal experience to convey a data-backed vision of the education and skills necessary for successful employment in the evolving retail landscape, illustrate the current and future value of investment in training and learning, and motivate action. Tapping into 8 selected sites, data will be collected from medium-sized and small retailers, current and future retail employees, learning providers, economic and workforce development agencies, and policy makers. Results will be shared at on-ground events and the content will be available online for others who may use it to design new programs or career pathways with employer partners.
Since 2006 The Graduate! Network has been proving the importance of investing in postsecondary learning and in particular the value of a postsecondary credential in upskilling low-income individuals and opening possibilities for them and their families to move into higher-paying careers. They are a national network of large scale, partnership-based initiatives that guide adults to and through postsecondary completion and engage employers and higher education providers in the process. Eighty percent of the “comebackers” served – adults with some postsecondary experience but no degree – graduate within five years or are still persisting after five years. The Network currently serves more than 30,000 individuals at 35 sites.