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January 17, 2017

The League for Innovation in the Community College today announced a $2.9 million grant to develop a credentialing program for retail workers.

The League for Innovation will work closely with 12 community colleges from across the country who have been chosen to participate in the program, Brighter Futures 3.0, which will build on the success of the Western Association of Food Chains’ (WAFC) Retail Management Certificate (RMC).  

Over the 2.5 year period of the grant, the selected colleges, based in urban, suburban and rural areas, will work with retail employers who are committed to the RMC as the credential for the advancement of their existing workforce. It anticipated that more than 1,200 incumbent retail workers will be enrolled in the program.  The League for Innovation and the WAFC will disseminate the best practices from the project to other community colleges throughout the country.

The project aims to scale the retail management certificate that is currently offered at over 150 community colleges in 13 western states and one state in the Midwest in cooperation with WAFC.  Participating colleges will offer the credit certificate to incumbent workers at local and regional retail employers.  

Community colleges funded include:  

  • Alexandria Technical and CC (Minn.)
  • Anne Arundel Community College (Md.)
  • Austin Community College (Texas)
  • College of Lake County (Ill.)
  • Nashville State Community College (Tenn.)
  • Moraine Valley Community College (Ill.)
  • San Jacinto Community College District (Texas)
  • Sinclair Community College (Ohio)
  • Umpqua Community College (Ore.)
  • Wayne County Community College District (Mich.)

Two additional college proposals (from Wisconsin and New Mexico) are under review for inclusion in the project.

In announcing the grants, League for Innovation President and CEO Dr. Rufus Glasper expressed confidence that the Brighter Futures project will have a positive impact beyond the selected colleges.  “The Brighter Futures 3.0 project will lead to best practices that will expand the capacity of community colleges to enhance job training opportunities for incumbent workers.  The League will be delighted to share the work of the participating colleges with colleges around the country,” Glasper said.  

The selected community colleges will receive up to $100,000 over the duration of the grant to support the colleges’ plans to provide services for retail employees.  Additionally, the colleges will leverage instructional stipends to support participant enrollment in courses leading to the retail management certificate. 

Director of the Retail Management Certificate Cherie Phipps said she is excited that the League for Innovation has chosen to partner with WAFC in this project. “We appreciate the leadership of the League for Innovation for their vision and passion to make this work possible," she said. "We look forward to working with selected colleges and our national and local retail employer partners to offer the nationally-recognized Retail Management Certificate to retail employees throughout the nation.”

About the League for Innovation in the Community College
The League for Innovation in the Community College is an international nonprofit organization with a mission to cultivate innovation in the community college environment. The league hosts conferences and institutes, develops print and digital resources, and leads projects and initiatives with almost 500 member colleges, 100 corporate partners, and a host of other government and nonprofit agencies in a continuing effort to advance the community college field and make a positive difference for students and communities. Information about the league and its activities is available at www.league.org.