National Skills Coalition Awarded $2.9 Million Grant from Walmart to Pursue Inclusive Economic Recovery

By Ayobami Olugbemiga, April 15, 2021

Washington, D.C. — National Skills Coalition (NSC) is pleased to announce that Walmart, a long-term supporter of NSC’s work, has awarded $2.9 million in funding to pursue several critical goals of NSC’s inclusive economic recovery strategy over the next two years. This grant nearly doubles Walmart’s previous investment in NSC.

“In 2018, very few funders were funding research and analysis of programs that support upskilling in digital literacy – but Walmart did,” said Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of National Skills Coalition. “Thanks to Walmart’s vision, our experts were able to provide early and ongoing support and analysis on digital learning, digitally-delivered skills development, and digital literacy. This new investment allows us to expand that work, particularly at a time when the COVID recession has made digital skills and workforce policy even more critical to the re-employment and advancement of millions of workers, including workers of color disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

“Walmart’s support of the National Skills Coalition is part of our effort to bolster the quality of job training, strengthening the retail sector’s potential as a springboard for economic opportunity and recovery,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president, philanthropy for Walmart. “NSC continues to show its commitment to important issue areas, such as upskilling and digital literacy, that impact the lives of individuals in every community across the country.”

The grant includes funding specifically to:

  • Launch a digital literacy policy project to engage business, labor, and other leaders in key sectors to identify industry-specific digital literacy gaps and policy solutions;
  • Launch an incumbent worker training fund state project, including working with state leaders to identify opportunities to leverage IWT funding to increase skills attainment for essential workers;
  • Expand technical assistance for states developing policies that increase attainment of quality non-degree credentials;
  • Support resources and training opportunities for network partners on racial equity, including a learning group of state affiliates; and
  • Launch a series of industry recovery panels representing the workforce needs of critical American industries to the Biden administration and Congress.

Not only does Walmart act as a leading funder of NSC, but Walmart is also a thought partner alongside other corporate leaders and leaders at small and mid-sized businesses to speak up with a unified voice about the need for a skilled workforce. Walmart participates in NSC’s Retail and Hospitality Industry Recovery Panel that will advise the Biden administration and Congress on federal recovery policies in the coming months.

“We want to ensure that federal recovery efforts meet both the immediate and changing long-term needs of businesses and workers in sectors fundamentally changed by the pandemic,” said Van Kleunen. “Walmart gets that and knows that it’s ‘all hands on deck’ if retailers of all sizes are going to recover as part of an inclusive economic recovery.”