Cummins Inc: Partnering to Provide Technical Education for Communities
By: Mary Titsworth Chandler
Many global companies and the communities in which they operate are facing a growing problem: increasing skills gaps resulting in unfilled jobs and high unemployment. A recent report by the Brookings Institution, Accenture and the Global Business Coalition for Education, Investment in Global Education: A Strategic Imperative for Business, concludes that the world’s current education systems simply will not provide the skills training and education vitally needed by both business and communities. Something has to change. The private sector must begin investing in education to fill the skills gap.
Cummins is investing right now. Through TEC: Technical Education for Communities, Cummins and the Cummins Foundation are starting local vocational education programs around the world. By forging partnerships with other businesses, government, and community organizations, TEC aims to increase access to good jobs. TEC is a replicable model that will lead to a stronger and growing employment base in communities across the globe.
TEC delivers industry-relevant skills training so that graduating students can secure good jobs in their community. Prior to selecting a new TEC site, Cummins conducts a labor market study to determine local industry need. The TEC program then provides tools to each site designed to build effective curriculum, market relevant skills, qualified teachers, career guidance and a combination of classroom and workplace learning. Because of TEC’s community focus, it seeks to build coalitions with like-minded partners to sustain improved education outcomes. Business partners can engage at an individual site or at a global level across multiple sites. Employees of Cummins and other coalition partners engage by serving as teachers and mentors, and providing workplace learning opportunities such as apprenticeships, internships and job shadowing opportunities. Cummins also delivers equipment and tooling to sites to facilitate hands-on learning. TEC has begun in global sites including Nigeria, Morocco, China, India, Brazil and Turkey.
The returns to business investment in education are clear. The recent Brookings study estimates that $1 invested in a student’s education returns $53 in value to employers at the start of an employee’s working career (Brookings). Communities around the world are suffering from widening gaps in incomes due in part to skills set disparities. Industry engagement and coalition building are vital to creating a strong pipeline of skilled workers. Our businesses are only as strong as the communities in which we live and work. The time to invest in education is now.
For more information on Cummins’ global technical education initiative, visit the TEC webpage or follow on Twitter.
Mary Titsworth Chandler is the Corporate Responsibility Director of Global Strategic Investments and Policy at Cummins Inc. and an officer of the Cummins Foundation. Ms. Chandler leads TEC: Technical Education for Communities, a global technical education initiative.