IIE Blog Opening Minds
IIE Blog Opening Minds

Advancing Education for the Workforce: A New Partnership Between IIE and Alcoa

By: Mark Lazar on Thursday, October 17, 2013

Are we preparing today’s youth to be successful in the workplace? I think that is a question that we as educators should be constantly asking ourselves. Getting a good (and hopefully international) education is not enough. We need to make sure that today’s youth are getting the skills and experience to create their own futures and be successful globally. This is one of the reasons I am so proud that IIE is partnering with the Alcoa Foundation to manage their 125th anniversary initiative to support internships for youth from around the Globe.

Alcoa Foundation will be providing over $1.25 million to support paid internships, training and mentoring to 500 students from eight countries around the world. Alcoa Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld announced the program last week to mark the company’s 125th anniversary. According to the World Economic Forum, youth ages 15-24 comprise about 40% of the unemployed around the world. By providing these youth with targeted training and experience in the manufacturing sector, this program will provide opportunities for these youth to explore careers in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors.

IIE will serve as the managing partner for the initiative working with nonprofits in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Jamaica, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The nonprofits will design trainings, identify internships at small and medium manufacturers and arrange volunteers from Alcoa and other companies to serve as mentors. Through the program, participating youth will gain the skills and hands-on experience to launch successful careers in the advanced manufacturing sector.

For the IIE, this program marks the continuation of a long-term partnership with the Alcoa Foundation. Our partnership began almost 10 years ago with the implementation of Alcoa Foundation’s signature programs in the sustainability field. We also work closely with the Foundation to implement a Technical Education Program in Russia.

Feel free to read more about IIE’s new program in a recent article by the U.S. News and World Report.

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  • Ralph Westbrook said:
    1/24/2014 1:41 PM

    As an educator in the San Antonio inner city, I spend copious amounts of time directing students toward choosing technology as a field: this area will indeed be a necessity in the future. You tweaked my interest when you wrote:
    “By providing these youth with targeted training and experience in the manufacturing sector, this program will provide opportunities for these youth to explore careers in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors” (M. Lazar, personal communication, October 17, 2013).
    We are doing our part to prepare students for the challenges in higher-order thinking and problem solving – skills needed to help our students achieve their goals and feel successful. What is Alcoa doing from a macro level to insure that once these trainees become employees they will have consistent employment? So many times at the micro level in countries like Brazil and Jamaica companies provide better opportunities for workers to care for their families until the natural resources are depleted – then these families are returned to poverty.



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