UpSkill America Receives $600,000 Grant from Walmart to Expand Upskilling Programs for Businesses and Opportunities for Frontline Workers

October 24, 2017

Walmart awarded the grant to UpSkill America to expand the initiative’s efforts to equip businesses with the tools needed to educate, train, and develop frontline workers

Contact: Claire Daviss
Communications Manager
Economic Opportunities Program, The Aspen Institute
202-736-3578 |

Contact: Tricia Moriarty
1-800-331-0085 |

Washington, DC, October 24, 2017 – Walmart and UpSkill America, an initiative of the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program, announced today that Walmart has awarded the initiative a $600,000 grant. With this grant, UpSkill America will expand its work to equip businesses with tools to educate, train, and develop frontline workers so that these workers can advance in their careers.

This grant will support UpSkill America in:

  1. Assessing employers’ needs to determine the necessary tools to implement more upskilling programs in one of the eight areas tracked by the initiative, including: high school completion/equivalency; pre-employment training; new employee training; adult basic education; certifications; alternative credentials (i.e. badging); apprenticeship; and college degrees.
  2. Scanning the landscape to identify existing upskilling support tools that can be adapted, expanded upon, and shared with the UpSkill America Network. Where there are gaps in available tools, UpSkill America will identify new tools that need to be developed and the partners or subject matter experts who are best suited to assist in developing these various tools.
  3. Developing and testing tools to assist employers with upskilling program establishment, operation and improvement, and results.
  4. Deploying upskilling tools through direct employer engagement and through employer-facing networks, such as employer, local and regional, and sector-based convenings, as well as workforce development initiative convenings with strong employer engagement.

“We are incredibly grateful to Walmart for their support of UpSkill America’s work to help entry-level, frontline workers get the education, training, and development they need to move up in their careers,” said Jaime Fall, director of UpSkill America. “Our work to date has helped us connect with many large employers who provide these opportunities. With this new support from Walmart, we look forward to further developing tools to help other employers launch, improve, and expand upskilling programs.”

“As one of the largest provider of jobs for the American workforce, the retail industry presents many opportunities for workers to grow and thrive,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president of programs at Walmart.  “Through our work with UpSkill America, we are excited to engage employers across the sector to identify best in class practices to advance front line workers.”

UpSkill America is an employer-led movement to expand opportunity for America’s workers and allow our economy and communities to thrive. Led by a leadership team of employer organizations, the initiative’s mission is to recognize employers that invest in their frontline workers; promote the adoption of policies and practices used by employers to educate, train, and develop frontline workers; and highlight effective local and regional workforce development partnerships and how they educate, train, and develop individuals for success in the workplace. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

The Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) advances promising strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income Americans connect to and thrive in a changing economy. Over its 25 years of work, EOP has focused on expanding individuals’ opportunities to connect to quality work, to start businesses, and to build assets and economic stability. For more information, visit

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