CNM One of 12 Colleges Selected to Grow National Credential Program for Retail Workers

Feb. 8, 2017 – The League for Innovation in the Community College today announced a $2.9 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to develop a three-part credentialing program for retail workers. Central New Mexico Community College is among one of 12 community colleges across the country to be 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.
February 08, 2017

CNM launched its Retail Management Certificate in partnership with the WAFC in fall 2016, when 30 Albertsons employees enrolled in the program.

Over the 2.5 year period of the grant, the selected colleges will work with retail employers who are committed to the Retail Management Certificate as the credential for the advancement of their existing workforce. It’s anticipated that more than 1,200 incumbent retail workers will be enrolled in the program, which seeks to break the Retail Management Certificate into three portable and stackable certificate programs, allowing workers a more flexible and manageable way to ultimately earn the full certificate.. 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 the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC). Participating colleges will offer the credit certificate to incumbent workers at local and regional retail employers. 

In addition to CNM, other community colleges funded by the grant 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.)
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College (Wis.)
  • 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.)

In announcing the grants, League President and CEO, Dr. Rufus Glasper, expressed confidence that the Walmart Brighter Futures project will have a positive impact beyond the selected colleges. “The Walmart 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,” said Glasper. 

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. 

“CNM is excited to be selected to participate in this project,” CNM President Katharine Winograd said. “We appreciate the generosity of the Walmart Foundation and the leadership of the League for Innovation in helping us address this workforce need in the retail sector. We look forward to working with our national partners and our local retail employers to offer a nationally-recognized credential that will help retail employees in our community advance in their profession.”

“We understand the long-term potential of credentialing to accelerate upward mobility of frontline retail workers, by helping retail workers demonstrate the skills they have gained to their current and prospective employers, while at the same time making it easier for employers to identify workers who have the skills they need,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “We know that this work is important for the retail industry at large and that’s why we’re supporting the League’s efforts to make this credential more accessible to thousands of retail workers seeking to gain new skills and grow in their careers.”

About the League for Innovation in the Community College.

The League for Innovation in the Community College (League) 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