Mar 16, 2016 11:21 AM EDT

Wal-Mart Foundation Grants $10.9 Million To Chicago Workforce Agency

The Wal-Mart Foundation has recently granted $10.9 million to Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership to fund employment services and education for retail workers.

According to Karin Norington-Reaves, CEO of CCWP, the money will be used for retail-oriented programs in Chicago and nearby locations. The grant of the store chain was announced on Monday at the National Association of Workforce Boards conference.

Established in 2012, the CCWP offers free services to businesses and job seekers. It is also one of the biggest workforce agencies in the United States having approximately $60 million budget. According to Norington-Reaves, this organization also disburses public, private and federal funding to 53 institutions.

The Wal-Mart Foundation, likewise, is established for the same purpose - to provide the necessary funding to deserving organizations that works for the betterment of the public.

In June 2012, the foundation granted $500,000 to workforce development training in Phoenix. Arizona. The fund was designed to provide development training and summer jobs to 312 young people in the city.

It was Call-A-Team Youth Resources Inc., a Phoenix-based Arizona organization that was luckily chosen as the grant recipient. The money was used in the institution's 2012 Summer Youth Employment Initiative.

Phoenix was only one of the seven cities all over the country chosen by Wal-Mart Foundation for the grant. Other locations which received funds from the foundation included Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Hartford, Connecticut.

With the current CCWP grant, approximately one third of the funds will go to local programs, such as in building a new center where the Chicago Cook group will offer retail-oriented training for new employees who are seeking their first job, as well as workers who want to advance their careers.

"Despite the fact that there's this stigma around low-wage jobs, the reality is that one in four American jobs are in the retail industry," said Norington-Reaves said.

"Our job is to ensure people are going into the retail sector space with a rich understanding of the opportunities that await them, and that there are quicker opportunities to advance within retail than any other sector," she added.

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