New York, NY, March 05, 2015 --(PR.com
)-- The Walmart Foundation is providing ongoing funding for Dress for Success® Worldwide by awarding over $2.5 million to the organization’s Going Places Network by the Walmart Foundation (GPN) program that will be hosted over the next two years. This new grant is an extension of the already $4.5 million awarded by the Walmart Foundation to Dress for Success for the GPN since the program launched in 2011.
The GPN is a specially-designed program that provides a curriculum that blends a proven methodology to improve the career prospects of disadvantaged unemployed and underemployed women and helps these women gain professional skills, accelerate their job searches and build confidence through weekly training sessions, one-on-one career coaching and networking in a supportive environment.
The 2015-2016 installments of the GPN will provide ongoing support for the progression of services focusing on the changing needs of the Dress for Success client. The GPN will continue to improve the lives of unemployed and underemployed women by increasing their employability, boosting their self-confidence and self-efficacy and providing them access to diverse professional networks. Participants will benefit from a dynamic curriculum that includes hands-on activities like store tours, mock interviewing and job shadowing, allowing them to better understand the needs of employers and potentially secure employment.
This new grant will also allow Dress for Success to explore a focus on the retail industry as a viable and growing sector within the GPN by piloting the Going Places Network by the Walmart Foundation: Retail Education Advancing Leadership (GPN: REAL). The primary goal of the GPN: REAL is to increase and improve the economic status of low income women by positioning them for career mobility through training and pathways to advancement specific to the retail industry.
Dress for Success determined the need to integrate retail-related skills among GPN participants after an analysis of sector-specific hiring outcomes revealed that almost half of its women are securing employment in retail since the program’s inception in 2011. Based on this evaluation, there was clear economic potential and an unmet client need in the retail sector. Therefore, GPN: REAL will construct its approach to focus on the retail industry, which research shows is growing at an exceptional rate with extensive opportunities. According to the National Retail Federation’s Impact Report, retail supports 1 in 4 jobs in United States.
Since 2011, the GPN has served more than 11,000 women, with 100 percent of women creating an action plan to map out their professional futures and 53 percent of participants having secured employment by the end of the 12-week program in 2014. Job placement of GPN graduates significantly increased to more than 70 percent 90 days after completing the program.
The Dress for Success grant was one of seven made by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation as part of their Opportunity initiative—a $100 million commitment over the next five years to support programs that help increase the economic mobility for entry level workers in the retail and adjacent sectors.
Walmart and Dress for Success Worldwide have a long-standing relationship that originated in 2008 when Walmart provided in-kind donations of George brand suits for women who were actively interviewing for jobs and had been referred to the Suiting Program. From there, the relationship has grown and evolved with the Walmart Foundation’s robust participation at the Success Summit, Dress for Success’ annual three-day leadership conference for the women of Dress for Success’ Professional Women’s Group. Walmart has served in the capacity of a Leadership Sponsor, ascending to the status of Presenting Sponsor of the 2014 Success Summit.
In addition, Walmart's Women’s Officers Caucus took on the commitment to provide mentorship to the delegates who elected to champion a cause or a concern in their communities upon their return home as part of the Community Action Project (CAP). Serving as mentors, the WOC has ensured that our women have had the support, guidance and coaching that they needed to complete a successful CAP.
In 2013, the Walmart Foundation also awarded Dress for Success a capacity building grant for start-up affiliates. The Paving the Way Forward capacity building grant was distributed to start-up affiliates who needed additional support to become sustainable, strengthen their capacity and enhance their internal infrastructures.
About Dress for Success
Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to almost 140 cities in 18 countries. To date, Dress for Success has helped more than 850,000 women work towards self-sufficiency. Visit www.dressforsuccess.org to learn more.