Cummins Inc. has a long history of supporting education initiatives in the communities where it operates and is now making efforts to strengthen technical education across the world. The company recently formed a new coalition for its TEC: Technical Education for Communities program in Izmir, Turkey.
Cummins has entered into a partnership agreement with Schneider Electric and Ege University to support scholarships for students, and lab and equipment purchases to launch the new Mechatronics program at Ege. This is part of a broader coalition to support TEC in Izmir that includes local development agency IZKA and a number of local industry partners.
"Industry, government and civil society have a stake in global education," says Mark Levett, Vice President Corporate Responsibility, Cummins Inc. and CEO of the Cummins Foundation. "The newly established coalition in Turkey will provide skills training and access to well-paying jobs for program enrollees, including quality jobs for underrepresented groups such as women."
Employers around the world are experiencing critical shortages of skilled technical workers. At the same time, education programs often fail to teach students the skills needed by employers. And many communities are suffering from widening income inequalities due in part to skill set disparities. Cummins understands that by addressing the skills gap through education and training, the company can make communities stronger and healthier by ensuring people can access quality jobs that are also critical to the success of companies like Cummins.
TEC is a global initiative that targets the technical skills gap through local vocational education programs. TEC delivers a standardized education platform to help education partners develop market-relevant curriculum, teacher training, career guidance and the practical experience needed by students. Currently Cummins has TEC sites in Morocco, Nigeria, India and China, and is exploring expansion in South America, Australia and the Middle East.
Recruitment of female students is a focus at TEC's Turkey site. With Cummins' assistance, the Mechatronics program was recently awarded a female student quota from the government -- the first of its kind in Turkey.
"The number of female students in technical education is decreasing. Through TEC and similar projects, we can support the development and employment of female students," says Semih Gunes, Ege Higher Vocational School Manager.
YOK, Turkey's Council of Higher Education, approved a quota of 50% at Ege University in May. The quota will ensure a pipeline of female students into the TEC program in Izmir.
"TEC holds great importance in training female students in Turkey to become qualified technical staff," says Dr. Candeger Yilmaz, Ege University Rector. "Development of such cooperation is very important to improve the collaboration between the university and industry."
Levett adds, "There are few prior instances of granted quotas for higher education programs in Turkey, and this approval marks both an achievement for TEC and a step toward societal change."
TEC seeks to partner with business, government and community organizations to increase access to good jobs and develop a stronger and growing employment base in communities across the globe. The support of partners like Schneider Electric and IZKA is critical to this important work.
"This is a leading project that we have given importance and priority that will contribute to creating and enforcing similar cooperation in our region and country," says Murat Yilmazcoban, General Secretary of IZKA.
All partners participated in a signing ceremony at Ege University on September 29. Representatives from Cummins, Schneider Electric and IZKA spoke during the event. New female students who received scholarships were also recognized for their work.
"It's great to see a coalition like this come together to address a critical need," says Gilles Vermot Desroches, Senior VP Sustainability, Schneider Electric, and General Delegate of the Schneider Electric Foundation. "Global companies and organizations who understand that need have a key role to play in finding solutions -- it helps our communities and our businesses to be successful."