Knoxville Goodwill Launches Careers in Retail Initiative

Goodwill Industries-Knoxville, Inc. is one of eight Goodwill organizations across the country selected to pilot a new program called the Careers in Retail Initiative.

The Careers in Retail Initiative is designed to equip entry-level employees with the skills and credentials needed to advance to in-demand, mid-level retail positions. The program will provide the training and support necessary to gain a middle skills/middle management position in retail, food and beverage and/or hospitality and tourism industries.

For over 40 years, Goodwill Industries-Knoxville has been providing vocational services and employment opportunities to individuals with barriers to employment in East Tennessee. Generally, Goodwill job training programs have primarily focused on helping individuals to obtain entry-level employment. The Careers in Retail Initiative shifts the focus towards helping individuals with experience in entry-level positions to advance their careers.

Careers in Retail staff are working with regional businesses to provide staff training, as well as recruiting members of the general public who wish to further their careers.

Opportunities for Individuals

Participants in the Careers in Retail Initiative will be able to take assessments on general knowledge, retail skills and work ethic to create individual plans for growth, building on their strengths and assisting to improve their areas of weakness. Participants will receive training on content areas such as decision making, human resources, leadership and soft skills.

By completion of the program, participants will be ready to take on a managerial role in retail and affiliated industries. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in a panel style interview process with local employers. Once a participant is offered employment, the Careers in Retail Initiative staff will continue to support the participant for 6 months to ensure stability and success in their new position.

There is no cost to participate in the Careers in Retail Initiative and the program is open to the public. The program offers classes on a weekly basis with a variety of class times and dates offered each month, designed to fit within a busy work schedule. Class cycles will start at the beginning of each month.

Opportunities for Employers

Employers can help grow their business and advance their employees with free, customized training from the Careers in Retail Initiative. Employers are also invited to participate the end-of-course interviewing and hiring events to recruit future employees.

How to Get Involved

Goodwill Industries-Knoxville will be hosting Careers in Retail interest meetings on Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 5307 Kingston Pike in Knoxville. Interested individuals or business representatives may attend either meeting, from 10am to 12pm or from 6pm to 8pm.

Interested parties may also learn more at or by calling the Careers in Retail staff at 865.588.8567.

About the Grant

The Careers in Retail Initiative was made possible by a $3 million grant from the Walmart Foundation for a period of two years. The program will be initiated by eight selected Goodwill agencies from across the United States and will be facilitated by third-party credentialing organizations to include community colleges and career-training businesses.

About Goodwill Industries-Knoxville, Inc.

Goodwill Industries-Knoxville, Inc. operates 30 retail locations and five employment training and rehabilitation centers throughout its 15-county service area in East Tennessee. The purpose of Goodwill Industries-Knoxville, Inc. is to provide vocational services and employment opportunities for people with barriers to employment. In 2014, Goodwill Industries-Knoxville, Inc. served over 4,000 individuals. For more information, call 865.588.8567 or visit