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Raimondo Announces IPEF Upskilling Initiative Surpasses Commitment to Provide 7 Million Upskilling Opportunities

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo welcomed the announcement that the IPEF Upskilling Initiative has already delivered over 10.9 million in-person, hybrid, and online upskilling opportunities, surpassing its goal of providing 7 million opportunities by 2032. Specifically, the Initiative has supported over 5.2 million women and girls across the eight participating IPEF partner countries in furtherance of the region’s ongoing efforts to strengthen economic resilience and facilitate training, ranging from basic to advanced digital literacy skills by 14 participating companies. The IPEF Upskilling Initiative, which was launched in September 2022, in partnership with The Asia Foundation, supports sustainable and inclusive economic growth by providing access to training and education in digital skills to IPEF emerging and middle-income partners.

“Two years after the launch of the IPEF Upskilling Initiative, we are delivering on our promise for real progress to build a more inclusive, sustainable economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “I am thrilled, that in less than two years, our public-private partnership already exceeded our commitment to provide 7 million upskilling opportunities in the digital economy to our IPEF partners. I am particularly excited to see this initiative equipping women and girls with the digital skills they need to help them thrive in a constantly evolving job market to help bridge the gender gap and ultimately promote more equitable, stable societies.”

The Initiative and its immediate impact reflect both the deep and abiding support the United States has towards the long-term economic development of the IPEF partners, as well as the overall strength that results in the U.S. government and industry working hand in hand.

Examples of the opportunities the U.S. companies are providing include:

  • Programs focused specifically on technical training, professional development, and enrichment support related to supply chains, including opportunities for people with disabilities;
  • In-person centers built to host people from across Southeast Asia to meet, learn, and collaborate with fellow developer experts;
  • Promotional campaigns that feature women with careers in cybersecurity designed to encourage more women to take training courses on cybersecurity, networking, and data science;
  • New partnerships with organizations across the Indo-Pacific region that promote inclusivity to provide trainings and certifications on generative artificial intelligence, sustainability, cybersecurity, data analysis, cloud, and computing; and
  • Internship programs that provide students with both a strong technical foundation and hands-on practical experience in administrative and developer skills and create a pipeline towards post-internship job offers.

“The Asia Foundation sees every day the importance of digital skills as we help transforming economies become more inclusive. We are pleased that IPEF shares this view as part of the broader importance of workforce development,” said Laurel Miller, President and CEO of The Asia Foundation. “Limited internet access, low digital literacy, and unequal access to advanced digital skills remain pervasive challenges in many parts of Asia and the Pacific, with women and other underserved communities especially affected. The IPEF Upskilling Initiative is an exciting example of how the private sector can contribute collectively to overcoming these challenges. We’re proud to be associated with this effort.” 

“At Apple, we believe education is a powerful force for equity and opportunity,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We’re proud to support education programs around the world that help people learn the skills to excel in the modern workforce. And we’re committed to expanding access to education for all, because everyone deserves the chance to realize their full potential.”

“Cisco is proud to continue our support of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s IPEF Upskilling Initiative, and we’re thrilled to have exceeded our goal of connecting 50,000 women across participating countries annually with free digital skills training,” said Cisco Chair and CEO Chuck Robbins. “By equipping women with the digital skills they need to succeed, we are powering an inclusive future and empowering women to thrive in the digital economy.”

“As artificial intelligence continues to reshape our world, important programs like this are critical to ensure we all benefit from emerging technologies,” said Google President for Asia Pacific, Scott Beaumont. “Google is honored to participate in the program and is committed to provide inclusive digital skills training for women and women-led small businesses across the Indo-Pacific region.”

“Democratizing access to technology training and artificial intelligence skills is crucial for today’s workforce. IBM has made significant progress on our goal to train 1 million women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region, with nearly 650,000 learners already engaged in our programs since 2022,” said Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO of IBM. “We are continuing to expand our partnerships in the region in our effort to make digital skills more accessible around the world.”

“The next generation of global leaders — those who will help build and sustain an inclusive economy — will need to be proficient in the ways of an increasingly digital world,” said Jon Huntsman, Jr., Vice Chairman and President, Strategic Growth at Mastercard. “Programs like our Girls4Tech initiative, which recently celebrated 10 years of impact, are designed for exactly this reason, and we consider it part of our mission at Mastercard to empower others through the resources and expertise at our disposal. We are incredibly proud to be involved with this Commerce Department initiative to help women and girls throughout the Indo-Pacific region learn and develop the skills they need to grow as an economic force for good.”

“At Visa, we believe in creating a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable economy that benefits SMBs everywhere,” said Ryan McInerney, Visa Chief Executive Officer. “In Asia Pacific, we are working with a network of partners that will enable more women entrepreneurs to access the digital economy and achieve their economic potential. We are honored to be a part of the IPEF upskilling initiative.”

“Access to technology, as well as the skills and confidence to use that technology, is essential to economic and social progress,” said Enrique Lores, President and CEO of HP Inc. “This is particularly critical for women and girls who have been disproportionally excluded from education and economic opportunities. We are proud to support the IPEF Upskilling Initiative as part of our commitment to accelerate digital equity for 150 million people by 2030.”

“To build an inclusive and sustainable economy that works for everyone, we need a deep bench of talent that can shape the future of our increasingly digital world,” said Michael Miebach, Chief Executive Officer of Mastercard. “We’re committed to empower the next generation of global leaders. Programs like our Girls4Tech STEM initiative are designed for exactly this reason. This Commerce Department initiative will help women and girls throughout the Indo-Pacific region develop the skills they need to grow as an economic force for good.”

“Amazon is committed to continuing our global work to support digital skills development in underrepresented communities, including through the goals outlined in the Department of Commerce’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework,” said Shannon Kellogg, Vice President of AWS Public Policy – Americas at Amazon. “Digital skills training will help more women in the region climb the economic ladder through increased career opportunities in growing fields such as data science, cloud computing, cybersecurity and e-commerce, and we are proud to be part of this effort.”

Originally posted at https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2024/06/raimondo-announces-ipef-upskilling-initiative-surpasses-commitment

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