Preview of the I AM RETAIL Summit

Posted: September 30th, 2016

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As prospects for the economy and jobs become center stage in the national discourse, ACT Foundation is gathering nearly 150 professionals, researchers, thought leaders, and working learners influencing the retail industry at the I AM RETAIL Summit next Monday and Tuesday in Dallas. The Summit will give participants an in-depth look at how to power growth in the retail sector by investing in the careers of a diverse cross-section of working learners. During the Summit, human resource managers, thought leaders, learning providers, policy leaders, researchers, and working learners themselves will collaborate to create a blueprint for the future of retail by drawing upon their unique perspectives and experiences as workers, employers, and intellectuals. Discussion topics will include:

· competency-based learning;
· preparing young people for work and life success;
· hiring for competency;
· work-and-learn for incumbent workers; and
· talent development for entry level employees

A central theme of the summit is expanding “hiring for competency” to increase equity in the workplace. As the global workforce attracts people from different racial, ethnic, gender, geographic, philosophical, and socio-economic backgrounds it is critical that employers implement systems that treat employees and applicants fairly by accurately matching the skills they possess with those that are truly required to perform a job with proficiency. A highlight of the Summit promises to be an exploration of the National Retail Services Initiative Competency Model, which for the first time transparently identifies the strengths that employees need at each career level across the retail, lodging, restaurant, logistics, and information technology industries. Building on the Competency Model, ACT Foundation partner Innovate + Educate will present the SEEK online platform that maps job applicants skills and interests with employer needs and learning resources.

Our friends at Institute for the Future (IFTF) will provide attendees with a window into the future of retail by forecasting what the retail environment will look like in the next ten years, including hands-on demonstrations of virtual reality technologies and immersive media.  In addition, IFTF Executive Director Marina Gorbis’s keynote address will guide a discussion on how massive changes in the retail industry will require transferable skills and transform how companies and workers view success in the future. In addition to Gorbis,  The Honorable Mike Rawlings, mayor, City of Dallas;  Marten Roorda, CEO, ACT Inc.; Dr. Parminder Jassal, executive director of the ACT Foundation; and Jim Larimore, chief officer, ACT Center for Equity in Learning, will join a host of business executives, non-profit leaders, academicians, and working learners themselves serving as presenters, panelists, and facilitators.

Sessions will allow participants to collaborate and chart a new path forward that empowers all workers, an urgent need underscored by ACT Foundation’s research on working learner success. Never before has it been more important for the employees to feel empowered along a sustainable career path and to feel that they are an integral, valued part of retail’s success who are respected in alignment with their skills and interests. In other words, each worker must feel that “I AM RETAIL.” We look forward to learning from each other to ensure that a talented workforce, armed with future skills, is prepared for the learning economy.

Learn more about I AM RETAIL here.