The US government on Thursday announced the launch of the IPEF Upskilling Initiative, a public-private endeavour to support sustainable and inclusive economic growth in emerging economies and middle-income countries like India, Indonesia and Malaysia in the Indo-Pacific region.
As part of the initiative, 14 US companies — Amazon and Amazon Web Services, American Tower, Apple, Cisco, Dell Technologies, Edelman Global Advisory (EGA), Google, HP, IBM, MasterCard, Microsoft, PayPal, Salesforce, and Visa — will each provide 5,00,000 or more upskilling opportunities that use digital tools for primarily women and girls in IPEF emerging economies and middle-income partners by 2032.
Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are part of this Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) initiative, according to the US government. US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the initiative not only demonstrates the United States’ commitment to creating a more vibrant and competitive Indo-Pacific region but also their intention of sending a strong signal to IPEF partners that they, along with some of America’s leading private sector companies, want to build lasting relationships and provide concrete benefits to participants in the framework.
“As we continue to work together to build a more inclusive, sustainable economic recovery, and as we discuss innovative ways to do trade under the IPEF, we must prioritise lifelong learning for our women, said US Trade Representative Katherine Tai. We must equip them with relevant skills to help them thrive in the digital and green economies of the future. Trade can be an important tool to advance these goals and that is why this initiative is so important, she added.
As digital technologies transform economies, it’s important that the growth is inclusive and benefits everyone, said Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. Google is proud to join this effort to bring digital skills training to women and women-led small businesses across the Indo-Pacific region. Through our Google Career Certificate scholarships, Google.org grants, cloud computing training and more, we’re committed to helping more people access the opportunities digital technologies create, he said.
“IBM is proud to partner with the public and nonprofit sectors to train one million women and girls in the Asia-Pacific Region over the next five years. This commitment from IBM will support the Administration’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and its focus on economic growth, equity, and partnerships in the region, said Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO of IBM. “Today’s announcement reinforces IBM’s commitment to skill 30 million people globally by 2030 as we look to close the skills gap and expand access to STEM education and career training for people of all backgrounds,” he said.
Amazon is deeply invested in working with its customers, partners, and governments in driving digital transformation by supporting the development of digital skills, especially for under-represented communities, said David Zapolsky, senior vice president and general counsel for Amazon. “At Apple, we believe education is a great force for equity, and that educating women and girls is a key to unlocking a more just and equitable world, said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
We’re proud to support this initiative by providing new opportunities to build digital skills, and to play a supporting role in the urgent, global mission to help all people access a quality education,” he said. We are pleased to join Secretary Raimondo and the Department of Commerce’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity to bring digital upskilling opportunities to women and girls, said American Tower President and CEO Tom Bartlett.
Cisco Chair and CEO Chuck Robbins said this partnership will empower women in the Indo-Pacific region with critical digital skills and create new career possibilities in meaningful, high-paying jobs that power the digital economy. Now more than ever, technology skills are critical for full participation in our society and economy, said Dell Technologies Co-COO Chuck Whitten. To achieve a sustainable, inclusive digital economy, we need to start by closing the digital divide and ensure access to the right connections, resources and training, said MasterCard CEO Michael Miebach.
The sustainable and inclusive growth of the Indo-Pacific region requires that more people know how to use the technology that powers the global economy, said Brad Smith, Microsoft President and Vice Chair. That’s why Microsoft and LinkedIn have committed to providing digital skilling opportunities to at least 1.8 million women and girls by 2025 as part of the US Department of Commerce initiative, he said.
To implement the Initiative, the US Department of Commerce is partnering with The Asia Foundation, a non-profit international development organisation with deep expertise in supporting good governance, women’s empowerment, and inclusive economic growth throughout the Indo-Pacific region.