Community of Retailers

RetailWorks AZ is an initiative of the Center for the Future of Arizona in partnership with retail employers and partners. RetailWorks AZ collaborators come together as a community to develop innovative approaches to make it easier and faster for front-line, entry-level workers to move up the career ladder in the Greater Phoenix area.  The initiative supports the important role the retail sector plays in Arizona’s economy and in the lives of many Arizonans, whose first job experience and skills are acquired in retail.

Download RetailWorks AZ Overview (PDF)

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Improving the Lives of Arizonans

The RetailWorks AZ initiative is the first of its kind for the Greater Phoenix area and has great potential to be a model nationally for a how a region can tap into the economic development opportunities that come from leveraging the retail industry.  The sector’s broad reach amplifies the potential impact of the initiative to improve the lives of Arizonans.

Impact of Retail Sector on Arizona Economy

In 2016 Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) initiated a landscape analysis of the retail sector in the Greater Phoenix area. ACA examined the value of the retail sector to the Phoenix economy, wages, competitive position vis a vis comparable MSA’s and health of the sector and recovery from the recession. Key findings highlight the significance of retail in terms of gross regional product and jobs. The retail sector in Phoenix provides almost 12% of all jobs, and has increased by 22.9% since 2001. The sector contributed just under $16 billion to the gross regional product in 2015, which is comparable to the manufacturing, finance and health care sectors.

Download the Analysis

Moving Up the Career Ladder

RetailWorks AZ is funded with a nearly $1 million grant from Walmart to develop innovative career advancement approaches in partnership with retail employers, local government, education and workforce development organizations. Walmart has committed $100 million over five years nationally to strengthen the skills of the broader U.S. workforce by developing ways to make it easier and faster for entry-level workers to move up the career ladder. 

Through this initiative, CFA brings education and employee development together in support of front-line, entry level retail workers to make it easier and faster for retail workers to move up the career ladder within retail, and build a pipeline of skilled talent for adjacent sectors such as hospitality, healthcare and business services.

If you are interested in RetailWorks AZ please contact:
Holly Kurtz
Director of Retail Sector Initiative