Education is key to facing current and future challenges; that is why we promote quality education, infrastructure, and appropriate nurturing environments in the countries in which we work. We also focus on developing technical and soft skills and competences that foster employability and ensure an adequate future workforce for our Company. As a result, communities are more self-sufficient and empowered. By facilitating access to relevant technical and vocational skills for young people and adults, we contribute directly to SDGs targets 4.3 and 4.4. We also contribute to SDGs targets 8.5 and 8.6 by involving non-educated, employed or trained (NEET) or graduate age youth in different programs that foster employability.
We support different education initiatives—from formal education scholarships to development of capabilities for employability—as well as awareness of cultural topics such as youth employability and women’s economic empowerment in the community.
In order to be able to maximize our impact and comprehensively track our actions, we have thus designed two main programs that will start working during 2020. One of these two overarching programs for this pillar focuses on developing complementary education initiatives that contribute to the employability of future generations, mainly by teaching the skills needed for tomorrow’s workplace; whilst the other is focused on the development of employability capabilities of the people in the cities and communities where we operate.
Please visit our Responsible Business Practices Booklet to see examples of our initiatives.
At CEMEX, we are acting to eradicate youth unemployment, strategically building the foundation for our future growth. Along with all of our industry peers, we are experiencing an aging workforce, which if unaddressed, could result in the loss of skilled and knowledgeable labor for our business continuity. Hence, it is of vital importance for our Company and our industry to rethink practices for attracting, retaining, and engaging young and innovative talent. By developing youth employability capabilities, we bridge the gap between current skills and the needs of our future industrial ecosystem.
According to the forecast of the International Labor Organization, in 2019, the expected global unemployment rate was 4.9%, while the youth unemployment rate was 11.8%; this meant that 59.1 million youth aged 15 to 24 could not find a job. In total, youth represented 33% of unemployed people worldwide. This phenomenon has grown in scale throughout the years. There are several reasons behind this trend, such as an ever-increasing population, limited economic growth, and more importantly, a gap between skills learned by students and the needs of employers. Additionally, people who have experienced youth unemployment face lower average future earnings, thus limiting the productivity and growth of future generations and affecting the overall business environment.
In order to tackle this problem, CEMEX, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), developed a program called New Employment Opportunities. By 2019, this program has already trained more than 41,000 people with a 74% placement rate.
Additionally, in January 2019, CEMEX signed an agreement with the Global Alliance for YOUth (All4YOUth), this agreement aims to improve 6 million lives through quality education and workforce readiness with the commitment of 20 companies.
As part of our partnership with All4YOUth, CEMEX has defined three focus areas to work on:
Provide youth with the necessary knowledge and skills needed to work in the 21st century through learning experiences.
Support, advocate for and develop educational programs that enable young people to successfully transition from education and training to employment, through apprenticeship programs, and dual vocational and technical.
Support Young Entrepreneurs/Entrepreneurial Mindset.
By 2019, our Company's employability programs had reached more than 45,000 people
A significant part of our efforts concentrates on Community Centers, or non-traditional classrooms, located where we operate, which offer a wide variety of courses to develop the skills and competences for sustainable communities. These courses are not only an integral response for people of all ages to expand their knowledge, but also empower focused groups such as youth and women. In 2019, we had 40 Community Centers that offered more than 1,592 workshops to over 26,200 annual participants in Egypt, UAE, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the U.S.