The White House honored the National Retail Federation with the Pledge to America’s Workers Presidential Award, recognizing the NRF Foundation’s RISE Up initiative. Ivanka Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross highlighted NRF and eight additional businesses and trade organizations for their workforce development programs.

“Our industry employs the most diverse workers in America, impacting over 52 million jobs in our economy,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Our nation’s retailers are committed to helping our current and future employees excel by providing the tools necessary to succeed. It is on their behalf that we accept this award, and we thank the Trump Administration for its commitment to job creation and economic opportunity for workers in communities large and small.”

A White House initiative, the “Pledge to America’s Workers” aims to increase the skills of the U.S. workforce by expanding apprenticeships, educational opportunities and job training programs. NRF was among the original signers of the pledge in 2018 and committed to create enhanced career opportunities for 250,000 individuals over the next five years.

“The National Retail Federation has demonstrated a meaningful and substantive commitment toward re-skilling and investing in the futures of their workers, more urgent now than ever before due to the changes brought on by the pandemic,” said Ivanka Trump. “Prioritizing American workers and ensuring they are well prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow will guarantee the continued exceptionalism of our country’s workforce for decades to come.”

Developed and managed by the NRF Foundation, the RISE Up (Retail Industry Skills & Education) training and credentialing program aims to change lives for young people and those with barriers to employment by empowering them with the confidence and tools needed to succeed in the retail industry. The credentials cover a wide array of knowledge including sales, customer service, inventory, retail math and distribution, and the training is available through online and classroom formats. To date, the NRF Foundation has reached over 400,000 individuals with RISE Up training — 75,000 since 2018 — through 800 training partners in 47 states.