Moraine Valley Community College is one of 12 community colleges in the country selected to participate in Brighter Futures 3.0, a three-part credentialing program for the advancement of retail workers. The program is supported by a $2.9 million grant from the League for Innovation in the Community College and will build on the success of the Western Association of Food Chains’ (WAFC) Retail Management Certificate (RMC).

“We are excited to be selected to participate in this project,” said Dr. Sylvia Jenkins, Moraine Valley president. “We look forward to working with our national partners and our local retail employers to offer a nationally-recognized credential to retail employees in our community. This effort underscores part of our mission to improve the condition of working families in our communities through the power of education and training.”

Over the 2.5-year grant period, the selected colleges, based in urban, suburban and rural areas, will work with retail employers who are committed to the RMC as the credential for the advancement of their existing workforce. It anticipated more than 1,200 incumbent retail workers will be enrolled in the program, which seeks to break the RMC 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.

Each college 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.

“We appreciate the leadership of the League for Innovation in making this work possible,” Jenkins said.

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. Participating colleges will offer the credit certificate to incumbent workers at local and regional retail employers.

In addition to Moraine Valley, other community colleges funded were Alexandria Technical and CC (Minn.), Anne Arundel Community College (Md.); Austin Community College (Texas), College of Lake County (Ill.), Nashville State Community College (Tenn.), San Jacinto Community College District (Texas), Sinclair Community College (Ohio), Umpqua Community College (Ore.), and Wayne County Community College District (Mich.).

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

“The 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.