Inside Retail Services News

The Bellevue Collection hosts Merchant Breakfast to boost workforce opportunities

From left: Rose Gundersen, WR VP of Operations & Retail Services, Alesha Shemwell, Kemper Development Director of Retail and WR board member, Renée Sunde, WR President & CEO, Teri Pablo, Yelm Community Schools CTE/Communication Director, and Marilyn Henselman, Bellevue High School CTE Director.


To support retailers facing worker shortage challenges, WR introduced an audience of retail mall managers to worksite learning, a structured partnership between K12 educators and employers. Alesha Shemwell, Director of Retail for Kemper Development and WR board member, invited leadership to present this industry partnership opportunity at their monthly Merchant Breakfast to a crowd of approximately 70 merchant representatives.

Worksite learning is a partnership between CTE directors and employers to provide students employment experiences to apply course knowledge, explore career options, and give preparatory experiences an intentional career plan. Read here for more information about worksite learning.

Renée Sunde, WR’s President/CEO, launched the presentation with a public announcement of the Governor’s Careers in Retail Month Proclamation. Rose Gundersen, WR’s VP of Operations and Retail Services, shared data about how increasing retail workforce training advances WR’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Principles.

Presenters introduced the benefits of working with a CTE-certified worksite learning coordinator to hire students, highlighting the structured guidance available throughout their employment. Teri Pablo CTE/Communication Director with the Yelm Community Schools presented the nuts and bolts of this program. Marilyn Henselman, the CTE Director with the Bellevue High School, shared a comprehensive booklet of CTE tracks provided to students.

Worksite learning is a well-established structured program to develop potential long-term employees through part-time employment. Employers interested in connecting to this program may contact the CTE directors in the local school districts in their area.

WR intends to continue partnering with CTE educators statewide to boost retail workforce training by promoting RISE Up and hiring students through worksite learning. For additional information, please contact Rose Gundersen at 360-200-6452 or [email protected].

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