GCU NY joins Dress for Success to launch retail education series

29 September 2015

GCU NY co-hosts retail education series

GCU NY co-hosts retail education series

In partnership with Dress for Success®, GCU New York hosted the first of a seven-part salon series in retail education. Developed as part of Dress for Success’s Going Places Network Retail Education Advancing Leadership Program (GPN: REAL), the series will cover a range of topics from retail roadmaps, training and skills advancement, workforce development and community partnerships. 

The series launched with a discussion between Angelina Garneva, Policy and Program Manager, New York City Employment and Training Coalition, and Candice J. Ward, District Director My Stylist, Macy’s, on career paths within the retail and fashion industry.

The conversation focused on identifying skill sets that create pathways to successful career ladders, avoiding career plateauing and how employers can create the optimal environment for job mobility and career advancement.

Both Garneva and Ward noted that creating a network to secure mutually beneficial matches between open positions and job-ready, best-fit candidates benefits employers, job-seekers and job developers alike. Building these relationships over time improves employment rates and job retention, as well as employee mobility satisfaction.

Garneva noted that “to thrive within the retail industry, individuals must demonstrate a keen knowledge of customer service and an understanding and passion for a company and its culture. The NYC Employment and Training Coalition is committed to improving New Yorker’s access to the skills, training, and education needed to rise up within the retail industry, while working to raise the floor by advancing workplace standards.”

Ward spoke about the best way to win the job you want, “confidence shines from the inside out when you know you look your best. The most wonderful part of my job is helping our clients look and feel beautiful. Our My Stylist@Macy’s service is free for anyone – regardless of budget.  Knowing that I’ve helped someone put their best self forward to utilise their talents and skills to the highest level makes my day!”

Frank Zambrelli of the design, sourcing and branding firm, Banfi Zambrelli, and chairman of the Accessories Council moderated the salon.

“Like Dress for Success, we at GCU believe the apparel industry can be a powerful force for good,” says Cara Smyth, Founding Vice President at GCU New York. 

“Today’s retail landscape is changing rapidly and as a result new skills are required to ensure operations run efficiently and brands deliver a premier consumer experience. Our panelists expanded upon soft and hard skills that candidates need to compete in the ever changing world of retail.”

Dress for Success developed the GPN: REAL to increase employment opportunities and improve the economic status of low-income women by positioning them for career mobility and providing pathways to advancement specific to the retail industry. The Walmart Foundation has provided ongoing funding for the Going Places Network since the programme’s inception, most recently awarding over $2.5million to the organisation in addition to the $4.5million given since the programme launched in 2011.

“Through the Retail Education Advancing Leadership Initiative, Dress for Success in partnership with GCU and the Walmart Foundation, has the opportunity to bring together diverse stakeholders including community-based organisations, colleges, workforce development professionals, and leaders in the retail industry to affect societal change,” says Angela Williams, Executive Vice President of Program Development at Dress for Success Worldwide. 

“Together we can collectively solve the problem of having a deluge of retail job opportunities that can’t be filled by an unskilled workforce, while en