Companies Emerge As Catalysts in Creating Skilled Workers Globally

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Governments globally want their countries to have high-value, high-skill economies. They realise that the first step towards achieving this is to have a well-educated workforce. The Shared Value Initiative and FSG, a not-for-profit consulting firm specialising in strategy, evaluation and research, are working with corporate and global education leaders to define a new role for business in education. They have released a report, based on interviews with more than 50 global business and civil society leaders, highlighting how companies across industries and geographies are creating shared value by filling unmet educational needs, improving student outcomes, and overcoming workforce constraints in ways that bring economic benefits back to the company.

This is an initiative that leverages the power of business to improve educational outcomes worldwide. It explores the innovative ways that leading companies are putting, where education is at the core of their corporate strategies. This is not philanthropy nor is it pure business; it is where companies are emerging as catalysts to develop skilled workforces.

Globally, 200 million people are unemployed, while ironically, 60 per cent of CEOs say a skilled labour shortage is holding back their company’s growth. A staggering 250 million primary school children worldwide are illiterate, in spite of governments, not-for-profits and school leaders working to overcome these challenges. There has been little success. No longer are companies content to wait at the end of the education pipeline for graduates with the right skills. Instead, they are becoming a part of the pipeline itself, taking on many roles historically reserved for education institutions and doing so profitably.

The Godrej Group, a major Indian conglomerate that targets 15 to 20 percent annual growth, has a widespread skill shortage, which is a serious threat to achieving its goal. Indians between ages 15 and 24 are the fastest growing segment of the population, representing 30 percent of the labour force. However, they are three times more likely to be unemployed because they lack marketable skills. This is a problem not only for the Godrej Group, but also for its suppliers and distributors. To turn it around the company has set a goal to train a million urban and rural youth in employable skills by 2020. Each part of the Group’s business has developed a portfolio of training programs that equip these underemployed youth with skills relevant to its industry which is offered across India.

CVS Caremark, one of the largest pharmacy health care providers in the U.S. has a program hinged on partnerships with state and federal workforce agencies in communities that have high unemployment. Each year, CVS works with government partners to recruit and train talent via six regional learning centres located in key CVS areas. The government operates these centres, while CVS covers the cost of training and ensures a job-aligned curriculum for 1,500 participants. Companies like CVS and the Godrej Group are not just creating a huge impact in education internationally, they also prove that business can be good for ‘school’.

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