Pledge to America’s Workers: Spotlight on IBM

Photo source: IBM.com

Following the recent announcement of the U.S. Department of Labor’s 5th annual National Apprenticeship Week running November 11-17, USCIB is showcasing the positive impact apprenticeship programs have in addressing the U.S. skills gap and preparing the American workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Each week, USCIB is featuring case studies of members that are making an impact in re-skilling and re-training the workforce as part of the White House Pledge to America’s Workers.

USCIB member IBM has created and expanded multiple training channels, from apprenticeships to innovative reboots of high-school career and technical education programs, all with a focus on preparing students and working professionals for the many well-paying jobs in today’s technology industry that do not always require a traditional bachelor’s degree. These aren’t “blue collar” or “white collar” jobs, but in fact, “new collar” jobs that prioritize capabilities over credentials. For IBM, what matters most in these roles is having the right mix of in-demand skills and a commitment to lifelong learning. IBM believes that companies bringing advanced technologies to market have a responsibility to prepare students and workers for the way those technologies will shape jobs and the very nature of work. And through that commitment, the company is expanding job opportunities in parts of the country where technology jobs have been scarce at best, from Missouri to Louisiana to West Virginia.

New collar roles can be found in some of technology’s fastest growing fields, including cloud computing, cybersecurity and digital design, to name just a few. IBM’s goal is to shift mindsets in the tech industry, opening the hiring aperture for candidates with non-traditional backgrounds and making the tech workforce more diverse and inclusive. Whether you’ve built skills through coding camps, community colleges, apprenticeships or modern career education programs, there’s a job for you at today’s IBM.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the programs IBM has created:

In 2011, IBM helped pioneer the groundbreaking P-TECH public education model so students preparing to enter the workforce can start learning skills for new collar roles during high school. P-TECH addresses education and workforce development challenges. Students can earn their high school diploma and no-cost associate degree aligned to real career opportunities in six years or less. The program combines classroom education with mentoring and workplace experiences, all grounded in relevant skills that are in-demand among American employers. Business partners are essential to P-TECH success, as they provide mentors for students, host site visits and paid internships, and commitment to putting P-TECH graduates at the front of the line for job interviews. IBM is working with governors across the United States to expand this model and prepare more American students for new collar careers. By the end of 2019, 200 P-TECH schools will be serving 125,000 students across 10 U.S. states and 14 countries.

To help expand new collar opportunities for students and mid-career professionals, IBM launched a 21st century paid apprenticeship program in October 2017, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor. This initiative focuses on building skills in cybersecurity, mainframe administration, software development and more. The 12-18 month program pairs apprentices with an IBM mentor to work on real IBM projects, along with traditional classroom learning. The apprenticeship program has proven to be very successful, growing twice as fast as expected in just the first year. By the end of 2019, IBM will have hired 500 apprentices and the company plans to hire 450 more each year for the next five years. Because of the widespread success of this program, IBM teamed with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in January 2019 to create the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition, where IBM’s apprenticeship model provides the foundation for a group of top tier companies to build or expand thousands of apprenticeships in communities coast to coast.

IBM has been a major American employer for more than a century. Two generations ago, the company helped launch the country’s first courses in computer science so workers nationwide could work with machines that were poised to reshape our lives. Today, the company is carrying that legacy forward with AI and cloud computing poised to change everything once more.

See here for other spotlights:

Salesforce

Walmart

SAICM Advances Zero Draft for Post-2020 Chemicals Policy Framework

The third meeting of the Intersessional Process for Considering the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste Beyond 2020 (IP3) was convened in Bangkok, Thailand, September 30 – October 4. Approximately 350 representatives of governments, industry, non-governmental organizations and intergovernmental organizations attended the proceedings. USCIB was a member of the private sector delegation representing the views of downstream users of chemicals, and included Mike Michener, USCIB vice president for product policy and innovation.

SAICM was adopted in 2006 as a policy framework to promote chemical safety around the world. SAICM contains an ambitious goal to achieve the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle so that by the year 2020 chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on the environment and human health. As 2020 rapidly approaches governments, industry and other stakeholders have been examining progress towards that goal and discussing SAICM’s future beyond 2020, when its current mandate expires. USCIB members have been longstanding participants in SAICM discussions through the USCIB International Product Policy Working Group.

Participants continued their discussions on possible elements for a post-2020 platform for international cooperation on the sound management of chemicals and waste for consideration by the fifth meeting of SAICM’s governing body, the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM 5) when it convenes in Bonn, Germany, in October 2020. According to Michener, the goal for IP3 was to develop, as far as possible, input for a “zero draft” for deliberation at the fourth and last IP meeting scheduled in Bucharest, Romania in March 2020.

Participants were organized into four “thematic groups” designed to develop recommendations for ICCM5 in the following areas:  targets, milestones and indicators; enhanced institutional arrangements; mechanisms to support implementation (including the science-policy interface and issues of concern); and financial considerations. At closing plenary, delegates heard reports from the thematic groups and from the various organizations that hosted the week’s sectoral meetings on health, agriculture, labor and environment.

“I am pleased to report that we are finally making some progress towards a zero draft agreement for SAICM Beyond 2020,” noted Michener. “While IP4 in Bucharest faces a very full agenda, I am optimistic. We may still have a lot of bracketed text to deal with, but there were many valuable conversations at IP3 that began to find common ground.”

ICCM5 President Gertrud Sahler hailed the intensive and fruitful deliberations as setting a firm foundation for work at IP4 and a large step toward a successful ICCM5. IP Co-Chair David Morin of Canada outlined the process for generating a “zero draft” for deliberations at IP4. Germany announced that it would host a special workshop before IP4 to discuss a possible enabling framework for the beyond-2020 platform, and Norway offered to help fund broad stakeholder participation in the workshop.

USCIB Discusses International Environmental Policy With EPA Administrator 

L-R: USCIB VP Norine Kennedy, U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson

As the 74th United Nations General Assembly High Level Session got underway, USCIB members met with the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler to discuss advancing U.S. business innovation and investment towards transboundary environmental challenges.

The meeting was a unique opportunity for USCIB members to engage with the Administrator on U.S. business priorities for international environmental engagement and public private partnerships while advancing economic prosperity and environmental stewardship at home and abroad.

“We needy enabling conditions for dialogue and partnership with the private sector in the multilateral system,” stressed USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson during his welcoming remarks. “Therefore, we do need to remove barriers to some business sectors in some parts of UN system – USCIB is working on this, and we would welcome EPA’s support in this area too,” he added.

Wheeler’s remarks focused on current environmental priorities for the EPA, such as the global water crisis, which he noted must be tackled through improving access to safe drinking water, strengthening infrastructure and preventing plastic debris from reaching oceans. Wheeler also emphasized global challenges and EPA involvement to tackle food waste.

“USCIB members had an opportunity to share perspectives on the kinds of partnerships that business and EPA can collaborate on to find solutions to global challenges, in addition to discussing the necessary infrastructure investments that are needed,” said USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy.

USCIB Releases Statement on China’s WTO Commitments, Urges Bilateral and Plurilateral Dialogue

In response to an annual request by the United States Trade Representative for comments on China’s compliance with WTO commitments and notice of public hearing, USCIB gathered member input and submitted a comprehensive statement on September 18.

The statement emphasizes the direct and important stake American business holds in the relationship between the U.S. and China and in its success. As the world’s largest economy, China’s practices and policies have a significant impact on its trading partners, and engagement with China can be challenging. China’s growing importance in the global economy provides strong incentives for both countries to work together to address common challenges and responsibilities.

USCIB members continue to have serious concerns with several policies and practices maintained by China that undermine the ability of U.S. businesses to operate, including unfair and discriminatory governmental practices. Furthermore, U.S. tariffs and Chinese retaliatory tariffs imposed as a result of the U.S. Section 301 investigation into China’s forced technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation policies have been disruptive to U.S. business.

“The tariff actions have not resolved the underlying issues identified by the U.S. or have changed Chinese behavior regarding the matters covered by the investigation or the broader issues identified in this submission,” said Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl.

Accordingly, the USCIB submission urged high-level bilateral dialogue between the U.S. and China. USCIB also urged both countries to utilize, in addition to the WTO, the full range of formal multilateral fora, including Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to work toward improved commercial relations. Plurilateral dialogues that include U.S.-friendly jurisdictions such as the European Union, Canada or Australia should also be considered.

“This annual submission provides a valuable opportunity to stakeholders to share issues that business is facing in China, following their accession 18 years ago in 2001,” said Hampl. Many sectors continue to face significant issues related to market access, transparency, regulation and protection of intellectual property rights. In addition to addressing many cross-sectoral and sector specific issues, this submission takes the opportunity to address the ongoing tariff war with China and the damaging effect that is having on companies.

“USCIB has been consistently pushing back against this tariff escalation, the start of which alleged to address some of the issues highlighted in our broader China WTO submission,” added Hampl. “Our submission clearly shows that the issues related to IP theft and forced tech transfer continue to be a problem for companies doing business in China.”

Pledge to America’s Workers: Spotlight on Walmart

Source: Walmart

The U.S. Department of Labor has recently announced the 5th annual National Apprenticeship Week, which will take place November 11-17, to showcase the positive impact apprenticeship programs have on addressing the U.S. skills gap and preparing the American workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow.  In celebration of this, USCIB has been featuring case studies of members making an impact in the re-skilling and re-training the workforce as part of the White House Pledge to America’s Workers.

This week, we’re featuring Walmart, which is empowering its employees with the skills, confidence and the technology they need to serve customers and their own careers—whether they choose to stay in retail or take their skills to a different field.

Walmart is accomplishing this, in part, through the Walmart Academy training program, which has completed more than 800,000 trainings since the academy opened in 2016. When signing the pledge Walmart stated that their commitment would be partly determined by completion of its internal training programs, including the Academy program, which provides focused training for their associates, both hourly and salaried, through classroom and on-the-sales-floor exercises and tailored integration of technology. Walmart provides instructor-led training, web-based training and virtual reality training.

Last year, Walmart introduced Virtual Reality (VR) to the world of employee training and development by using the technology to upgrade training at Walmart Academies nationwide. With the huge success of that program, the company is now providing Oculus VR headsets to all stores in the U.S. to bring the same level of training to its more than 1 million Walmart associates.

Additionally, Walmart launched the Live Better U program, which provides access to debt-free, in-demand college degree and professional certification programs from nonprofit universities in the fields of technology, business, and supply chain management. Associates can earn college credit for training they receive on the job through our Academies. The Live Better U program also provides high school completion at no charge and college prep courses that translate into credit towards a degree. Since the program launched last summer, more than 13,000 associates have been accepted into the program in all 50 states. Within the first year, students had earned more than 30,000 college credits valued at more than $17.5 million.

For more information on Walmart’s pledge, please read this piece written by Walmart’s Executive Vice President of People, Julie Murphy.

See here for other spotlights:

Salesforce, the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) focused on bringing companies closer to their customers in the digital age.

 

US Business Priorities for UNGA High-Level Opening Week

Photo credit: United Nations

USCIB issued the following statement on September 18 for the 75th United Nations General Assembly High-Level opening week. The statement reflects U.S. business priorities.

On the occasion of the High Level Opening Week of the UN General Assembly on the urgent and intertwined topics of climate change and sustainable development, USCIB joins with many others in highlighting the critical importance of inclusive multilateralism as a means to increase pace and impact to meet climate, financing for development and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commitments and objectives, involving all societal partners, including the private sector. In each of these three areas, economic policies that drive growth and job creation will be critical to generate the necessary resources and enable business to make its strongest contributions to implementation.

UN 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

USCIB members have placed the SDGs and the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda at the center of their sustainable development policies and actions.  As needed progress towards delivering the SDGs is lagging, we encourage governments to do likewise. We urge the United Nations to call for greater global action to achieve Agenda 2030, using the occasion of its 75th anniversary in 2020 to galvanize the international community and actively include business and other non-state actors.

Business for 2030 homepage logoScientific assessment, policy dialogue and assessment all need to integrate business expertise and views on a more systematic basis at international, national and local levels. The private sector brings important experience and knowledge to deliver the 2030 Agenda; it is in the DNA of business to turn challenges into opportunities and to innovate and develop practical and realistic solutions for the problems we face together.  Recent examples of this business commitment and action will be highlighted at the September 25 SDG Business Forum, organized by ICC with the UN GC, the International Organization of Employers and the UN, and can be found on USCIB’s Businessfor2030 web platform.

In addition, a renewed emphasis on public-private sector partnerships is required to crowd-in private sector solutions.   In our view, business is needed more than ever as a source of solutions, real world experience, innovative technology, financial resources and partnerships in the multilateral system.  The UNGA SDG Summit is an opportunity to move toward mainstreaming collaborative approaches among the UN, governments, civil society, and business throughout the implementation of the Agenda 2030.

Climate Change

On the occasion of the UN Climate Action Summit, USCIB recognizes that we must take urgent action to tackle climate change on all fronts.  According to the IPCC, reducing future climate-related risks will depend on the upscaling and acceleration of far-reaching climate mitigation and both incremental and transformation adaptation.  In this regard, business investment, innovation and action, working in partnership with governments, society and other stakeholders, will be vital.

We continue in our active support of the 2015 Paris Accord and the world business position presented at COP21.  We continue to call for the commitment of all governments to this global effort, so that business and government can work together to enact economically sound policies that:

  • Promote development, deployment and use of cleaner and more efficient technologies and energy sources
  • Enhance sustainable energy access and security in all countries
  • Utilize markets and market-based approaches to animate least-cost GHG reductions, working through multilateral trade
  • Drive investment in innovation for mitigation and adaption

We share the concern that there is a shortfall in hoped-for progress toward the Paris goals, and encourage renewed efforts to get back on track.  We welcome ambitious aspirations on the part of organizations and companies and look forward to bringing the best of business forward in addressing this critical global challenge, working closely with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change en route to the 25th Conference of the Parties in Santiago, Chile.

Financing for Development

A major challenge faced in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is lack of financial resources, from both public and private sources.  Domestic resource mobilization is one of the core pillars identified in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda to help close this gap, and the private sector is indispensable in this regard.  However, even with robust plans to incorporate financing for development, governments still need to do more to enhance enabling frameworks for investment and strengthen rule of law and institutions needed for inclusive economic prosperity.

At the UN High Level Meeting on Financing for Development, we encourage governments to redouble their efforts to protect human rights, tackle corruption wherever it is encountered in public or private sectors and pursue democratic and transparent processes whether via international cooperation or at home.

USCIB Informs UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation

USCIB submitted a letter on the final report of the United Nations High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLPDC). The HLPDC was established by the UN Secretary-General in July 2018 to identify good examples and propose modalities for working cooperatively across sectors, disciplines and borders to address challenges in the digital age. USCIB had previously submitted two other sets of comments aiming to shape the substance of the final report.

The letter was sent to Fabrizio Hochschild, special adviser to the UN Secretary General on the preparations for the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the UN and emphasized USCIB’s view that the global digital ecosystem benefits when government policymakers work in close cooperation with business and other stakeholders to develop and ensure that the legal, policy, and regulatory approaches adopted and implemented result in a holistic framework.

Additionally, USCIB provided comprehensive comments on the need to provide a business perspectives to help fine-tune the analysis, refine the proposed IGF Plus global digital cooperation architecture model, concerns about certain elements of the Recommendations and relevant work already underway in other intergovernmental organizations that should be leveraged.

“We are pleased that another pervasive theme recognizes the complexities of the emerging digital ecosystem and, in turn, underscores the importance of informing policy development through multistakeholder processes,” said Barbara Wanner, USCIB vice president for ICT policy. “In the coming months, we look forward to working with the HLPDC Secretariat to help host technical roundtables aimed at implementing the report recommendations.”

Future of Work Event Explores Opportunities for Business

USCIB’s Peter Robinson makes opening remarks at the Future of Work workshop on September 5

As megatrends, such as technology, changing demographics and climate change, continue to disrupt the world of work at an accelerating pace, policy makers, business and international agencies have begun to explore opportunities for reskilling and retraining workers. This served as the framework for a joint, interactive workshop on the Future of Work on September 5 at the historic Evermay Estate in Washington DC.

Organized by The USCIB Foundation, the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN), the International Organization of Employers (IOE), Wilton Park USA and the S&R Foundation, the workshop brought together business leaders for a candid discussion on challenges and opportunities. Throughout the discussions, USCIB members, including AT&T, Chevron, McDonalds, Nestle and PMI, shared insights on launching company-wide initiatives.

Welcoming the group, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson said, “Today’s convening is at the intersection of policy and practice. Our goal is for everyone today to become informed about Future of Work policy, but more importantly, our goal is for you to come away inspired by the practical examples shared in the room by companies wrestling with these issues and converting them into positive opportunities for business, workers and society overall.”

IOE Adviser Akustina Morni

IOE Adviser Akustina Morni kicked off the discussions, providing a comprehensive overview of the regulatory landscape, future of work megatrends and recommendations, all of which are presented in a report created by IOE and The USCIB Foundation to inform the event.  Participants then moved through a series of topics on initiating, scaling, measuring and communicating about future of work programs.

“Apprenticeships were widely highlighted and cited as a potential way to skill, reskill and upskill a workforce, especially for mid-career professionals,” noted USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog. “What is most important is the opportunity to receive certification through an apprenticeship that will serve as recognized credential among employers.  While many different definitions of apprenticeships exist worldwide, their success, particularly in EU Member States, has provided a model to build from in the U.S. As the US government begins to examine establishing a more robust apprenticeship and credentialing program, business leaders will continue to work with stakeholders to meet the demands of the future of work.”

The organizers plan to hold follow-up discussions and will also produce an outcome report.

 

Pledge to America’s Workers: Spotlight on Salesforce

Marc Benioff, chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce

For the next twelve weeks, USCIB will spotlight case studies of USCIB members making an impact in the re-skilling and re-training the workforce as part of the White House Pledge to America’s Workers. This week, USCIB is celebrating Salesforce, the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) focused on bringing companies closer to their customers in the digital age.

As part of its ongoing commitment to workforce development, Salesforce pledged earlier this year to train 1 million Americans for the workforce of the future. The company also announced two unique workforce development programs powered by Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform: the expansion of the Salesforce Pathfinder program and a new Vetforce Alliance to accelerate the hiring of the military community across the country.

Since launching in 2014, Trailhead has been a game changer for more than 1.5 million people looking to learn in-demand skills and jumpstart a career in the digital economy. Through guided, hands-on learning, Trailhead provides reskilling opportunities in artificial intelligence, mobile app development and further skills that empower anyone to earn globally-recognized credentials and fill top roles in an ecosystem set to generate 3.3 million new jobs by 2022.

According to Salesforce, integral to that ecosystem is the vibrant Trailblazer Community. Every day, more than 1.5 million Trailhead learners support and empower each other on the path to new careers. Using Trailblazer Connect, anyone can get started by finding a career fair or online bootcamp, identifying mentors for their career path and sharing resumes with local recruiters.

“A true pioneer, Salesforce is setting an example and showcasing the enormous impact American companies have in building an economy of the future, enabling inclusive growth, and removing barriers to learning,” said USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog.

With a mission to “properly respond to the changing needs in the world of work,” the National Council for the American Worker created a Pledge to America’s Workers, which, in just over a year, has been signed by over 300 companies and organizations and has generated more than 13 million training and education opportunities.

A White House Executive Order established the National Council for the American Worker in July 2018 with a mission to “properly respond to the changing needs in the world of work.” USCIB will be doing a weekly spotlight in the run up to National Apprenticeship Week this fall.

Future of Work Event to Educate Business on Major Trends

In light of an increasing number of international policy discussions around the ‘future of work’ at fora such as the G20 and the United Nations, The USCIB Foundation, which is USCIB’s academic and research arm, teamed up with the International Organization of Employers (IOE), the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN), Wilton Park USA and the S&R Foundation to convene a hands-on, action oriented workshop. This important event, to be held September 5 at the historic Evermay Estate in Washington, DC, will bring together members of the global business community for a peer-to-peer exchange of best practices.

“The ‘future of work’ (FoW) is now and the IOE has found that five major trends are affecting business and the workplace – technological innovation, demographic changes, climate change, globalization and the skills gap,” said USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog. “Each of these trends bring with them a variety of disruptions and opportunities for redefinition of how, when and where we work, as well as the creation of new jobs,” she added.

The subject of frequent discussion among all stakeholders at the OECD, UN, the International Labor Organization, G7 and G20, this high-profile policy area requires meaningful engagement. With better understanding of the concept and collaboration among peers and stakeholders, business will be better placed to proactively participate on ‘future of work’ policy and practice matters with positive outcomes that benefit business, economies and society.

“Company led future of work initiatives will take center stage at this event,” emphasized Herzog. “Business leaders will learn from one another as they speak candidly about the challenges and opportunities related to initiating an internal future of work program.”

Topics that will be discussed include getting internal buy-in, alignment and planning FoW programs, scaling FoW programs across different national contexts, and measuring and communicating impacts to diverse internal and external audiences. The combination of frank, engaging and informative discussions, together with the outcome report of best practices that will be developed for participants, promises to inspire meaningful action.