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Press Release 2014: Retail Pays for College

Raleigh, NC (January 27, 2014) – Retail sales were higher than expected for December, and the outlook for 2014 is optimistic. In fact, local economists estimate between 2.5 and 2.8 million U.S. jobs will be created this year. In North Carolina, approximately 100,000 new jobs are expected and many of these will be in retail.

Businesses estimate the strength of consumer spending because it helps in planning. A solid forecast offers consumer confidence along with opportunities that strengthen communities. In 2014, the NC Retail Merchants Association (NCRMA) and its grocery division, the Carolinas Food Industry Council (CFIC), will support communities across North Carolina by helping high school and college students pursue their career goals. The two organizations, through the Retail Consumer Alliance Foundation (RCA), will give away close to $90k in scholarships this year.

“When most people think of retail jobs, they think of front-line store associates. But the reality is that the retail industry generates 17% of labor income in the state,” said NCRMA President and General Counsel Andy Ellen. “Retail powers North Carolina’s economy with both large and small employers, supporting over 600,000 jobs at headquarters and distribution centers. It also works with education to reach the same goals, including a strong and sustainable job market driven by competitive innovation. By supporting higher education goals, we can connect students to opportunities in the economy.”

Students across North Carolina will be one step closer to a career of their dreams by applying for scholarships through NCRMA. Thirty-five awards valued at $2,500 each are being offered through NCRMA and its grocery division, the Carolinas Food Industry Council (CFIC).  The awards will be offered to high school and college students working in the retail industry or whose parents work in the retail industry to support the 2014-2015 academic year.  Unlike traditional scholarship programs that only reward the highest level of academic achievement, NCRMA and CFIC will recognize students whose academic credentials fall within an average to above-average range.  Applications and official transcripts must be received or post-marked by Monday, March 3, 2014.  For information regarding application requirements or to apply, go to: http://www.retailpaysforcollege.org.

Funding for the 35 scholarships is provided through the NC Retail Consumer Alliance, a nonprofit retail foundation that works with consumers to build strong communities.

“The retail industry is a force for economic expansion, job creation, and business growth,” said Ellen.  “Locally, NCRMA’s primary mission is to serve the legislative needs of North Carolina’s retail industry. But we also know how important it is to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow, and many of these will be in retail. Retail offers life-long career options that range from finance and engineering to design and marketing.  We never lose sight of the role education plays in a competitive economy.”

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