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Global mentor: Cummins early implementation sites

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Skill gaps leave about 10 million manufacturing jobs worldwide unfilled, according to a World Economic Forum report — and Cummins has launched the next phase of its initiative to address that number.

Technical Education for Communities, a program that forges partnerships with business, government and community organizations, has established a site in Lagos, Nigeria.

Cummins has teamed up with the European Institute of Cooperation and Development, Schneider Electric and multinational company CFAO to bolster the curriculum at the Institute for Industrial Technology.

“Employers and schools must connect early and often to achieve the best outcomes,” Vice President for Corporate Responsibility Mark Levett said. “Industry engagement and coalition are vital to creating a pipeline of skilled workers, and we look forward to learning from this first and important partnership in Nigeria.”

A steering committee will begin meeting next week to review the existing program at IIT and fill any gaps that might exist to round out the instruction. Cummins will ship tools and equipment to the school to make sure the students have the right equipment to practice and learn. The steering committee also will look at the career guidance practice and add to it as necessary to make sure students have a good pathway to the local workforce.

All that should be complete by May, when the first class of 24 students is expected to enter the program.

“The skills that will be taught to the students in the schools, they are not specific to Cummins,” global strategic programs director Mary Chandler said. “They are skills that will allow them to work at any employer in the community which needs basic technical skill sets.”

Many of the graduates from the TEC site in Nigeria will head to Schneider Electric, a large power provider in Nigeria.

“Cummins will actually hire very few of these students, which is why the coalition in Lagos is so essential,” she said.

The initiative, a program out of the corporate responsibility branch, was designed based on the understanding that business is only as strong as the community — the goal is to increase standards of living globally by addressing gaps in skills.

The program in Nigeria is one of nine early implementation sites around the world. Other TEC programs — which are developing in countries including Morocco, Brazil, China, India and Australia — are in various stages of implementation.

Chandler said that is intentional.

“They are designed to be tests of approaches from which we learn and gain practical understanding of the program overall so we can begin to scale TEC globally,” she said.

From Morocco, for example, Cummins has learned the number of hammers and measurement tools needed for the program so all students have the chance to learn.

Chandler said the company has plans to expand TEC’s reach and already has some targets in mind for 2014. As the program develops, Chandler said there could be a central TEC site from which teachers, schools and students from anywhere in the world can access curriculum.

“It will be scaled to the point that other companies, other nonprofits, other communities will implement the program on their own and learn in the same way that we have,” she said. The ultimate goal is to provide global standards of living through the workforce acquiring skills important to community health, she said.

Guiding principles

Technical Education for Communities is a global program that aims to increase access to good jobs through local vocational education programs. It has five guiding principles:

Effective curriculum

 Instruction should focus on employer-specific needs, general skills and soft skills, like interviewing and communication skills.

Market-relevant skills

This requires balancing student preference, employer needs and supply constraints.

Qualified teachers

Vocational teachers are in short supply, but successful programming requires quality teaching.

Career guidance

Career education enables students to learn about the world of work and develop career management skills through classroom learning and work experience.

Workplace and classroom learning

Enables the students to observe a workplace environment in addition to the classroom setting. It creates an environment where students can acquire practical skills on modern equipment.

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