Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced a Community Partnership Initiative between Walmart and the District of Columbia that outlines a number of commitments the retailer is making as it opens its first stores in the city. The full document can be found here, and highlights include:
• Establishment of local job fairs and recruitment centers to facilitate hiring of DC residents for positions in the six new stores;
• Expectation that Walmart will fill a majority of available positions with DC residents;
• Investment of $21 million over the next seven years in local charities;
• Formation of a Community Advisory Committee to enable ongoing engagement between Walmart and the communities in which they are located;
• Recruitment of local retailers to provide ancillary services (such as coffee shops, shoe-repair stores and small restaurants) inside Walmart stores;
• Prohibition on the sale of guns or ammunition in District Walmart stores;
• A $2 million Transportation Demand Management commitment that will include bus stops, bus shelters and Capital Bikeshare stands at the District’s Walmart locations;
• $15 million in projected annual revenue to the city from sales taxes and property taxes.
“This agreement represents an unprecedented, citywide commitment from a retailer that is already poised to help create more than 1,800 permanent jobs in our city,” said Mayor Gray.
“Walmart is showing what it means to be a good corporate neighbor, and I encourage other firms interested in doing business in the District of Columbia to show a similar level of commitment to our residents.”
Mayor Gray continued: “We are also encouraged that Walmart has agreed to hire District residents to form a majority of the workforce in their new stores. Based on what we've seen at other big retailers, we expect that, in the end, that number will actually be much higher.”
The agreement was forged following intensive engagement between District officials and the retailer over the past 12 months. All told, Walmart has participated in more than 100 community meetings since October 2010 and has regularly shared feedback from those meetings with stakeholders, community leaders and elected officials.
“From day one, we’ve been listening to residents to better understand the unique challenges they face and how our stores might play a role in forging solutions,” said Alex Barron, Regional General Manager for Walmart. He oversees 87 stores and about 30,000 associates in the region, including all planned stores for the District. “We thought it was important to document what we heard and reinforce our commitment to help stimulate economic development, expand access to affordable groceries and create quality jobs in the city. We look forward to being a good corporate citizen here for decades to come.”
In the last year alone, Walmart has already committed to:
• Open six new grocery stores in the District, several of which are in underserved communities;
• Create 1,800 retail jobs and 600 construction jobs;
• Initiate a $3 million workforce-development program designed to help DC residents get the skills and training they need to gain employment;
• Contribute $665,000 to expand nutrition, learning and employment services for DC students during summer months;
• Provide $400,000 in grants to local houses of worship to establish training programs for purchase and distribution of healthy food items.