By Renée Sunde, President/CEO
It’s been a busy six weeks for me attending numerous conferences and summits around the country. These valuable meetings have provided the chance to hear from top industry leaders, policymakers and association partners on topics that are important to sustaining and building a strong statewide association.
Last week, our executive team attended the WCCE (Washington Chamber of Commerce Executives) Leadership summit in Pullman. We presented on the “Ever-Changing Face of Retail” to an audience of chamber leaders representing communities across the state. As the industry continues to evolve, the need to advocate for the issues impacting our members at the local level continues to change as well.
This week I am in New York City attending the National Retail Federation’s Retail Works Summit, focused on job and career pathways in the industry. Right now, retail is an exciting sector for job seekers. We see an increase in the number and diversity of roles as the industry continues to respond to consumer expectations. Retailers are making significant commitments and investments focused on training and elevating workers through higher pay, better benefits, education and upskilling.
With unemployment at historic lows and an emerging skills gaps, the need for training and education is more important than ever. While retailers are addressing these challenges, effective solutions are all about partnerships. Strong partnerships between state retail associations, workforce boards, the National Retail Federation, chambers of commerce and economic development organizations, are what it’s all about.
The future of work is here! Jobs in the retail industry will change but the need for a trained workforce won’t. I look forward to building on these partnerships in the coming year as we work to meet the needs of our retailers.