To drive greater equity in its communities, 3M announced it has set new equity-related commitments within each of our four business groups. 3M’s Safety & Industrial Business Group (SIBG) that includes the automotive aftermarket as well as personal safety, electric markets and others, will focus on promoting skilled trades.
“Our CEO challenged us to leverage the full capabilities as a company to solve pressing social needs in our society that we are uniquely equipped to address,” said Garfield Bowen, vice president of social justice strategy and initiatives at 3M. “We took that challenge and have created a model to help make a difference in communities where we have a presence.”
The effort was created through the close collaboration of 3M’s Social Justice team, 3M’s Community Coalition and each business group’s social justice engagement leader. Each equity commitment is uniquely ownable for the business group, bold, measurable, globally scalable and aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
SIBG will work to raise awareness of skilled trades as a viable career. The effort will focus on underrepresented students and young adults interested in vocational training for jobs that provide a living wage. “We’ve found a very interesting intersection of a community challenge and a customer challenge,” said Martha Bennett, engagement leader for social justice and vice president of global marketing excellence for SIBG. “Our customers tell us that one of their biggest challenges is a shortage of workers in the skilled trades area.”
The SIBG equity team has focused on identifying community partnerships that support skilled trade occupations that their customers are trying to fill, while connecting students and young adults to hands-on training and certification opportunities.
Typically, programs will endeavour to focus on trades training and apprenticeships for under-served populations, women and veterans, and in some cases selected partner schools have a student population mix of over 90% African American and Hispanic.
“The element of inspiration is critical as we know that young people form what’s called their “occupational identity” in middle school and start thinking about what’s possible for their life and their career pathway,” added Bennett. “We want to inspire them of what’s possible and get them thinking about skilled trades as a viable career pathway that pays well.”
3M has historically been an active partner with collision industry partners such as the Collision Repair Education Foundation to promote entry-level education programs.