A workforce training strategy that helps economic development and the disadvantaged

This information provided by Smart Cities Council Compassionate Cities.
Wed, 2016-03-16 06:00 -- Doug Peeples


By now you know that your city's businesses are feeling a skills gap. They can't find the high-tech workers they need... a problem that will only get worse as the world continues to transition from low-skill manual labor to high-skill digital work. And you know that many of your low-income residents don't have the training to get those new, high-paying jobs.

But have you considered partnering with the private sector to close the gap? Here's a story from Schneider Electric that illustrates a win-win strategy that's been so successful it is being expanded.

This example comes from South Africa's electric power sector, which faces a wave of baby boomer retirements. And which must grapple with new "smart grid" equipment that has a high digital quotient. But the principles could easily apply to any changing industry in any country.

For other examples of smart city strategy that help those less fortunate, please visit the Council's Compassionate Cities page. -- Jesse Berst


Smart cities need skilled professionals well-trained in the technologies that are the foundation of a smart city. Electric utilities, a primary partner for smart cities, have the same need. The electric grids designed to provide reliable, sustainable power for the 21st century are becoming more technologically complex – meaning the energy industry faces a growing need for equally skilled talent.

Other industries need skilled talent too, so the competition to find, recruit and train those valuable employees is fierce. For the energy industry and at least some vendors that provide it with products and services, the idea of collaboration with cities, government agencies and academic institutions isn’t a new one.

But it does have a proven track record, and it can come in many shapes and sizes. Following a successful pilot with a South African technology university and the French government ministry for education and research, Council Lead Partner Schneider Electric and the education and research ministry  will partner with four more South African colleges and universities to further expand its network of training centers.

As you will learn from this news release from Schneider Electric, the benefits of collaboration include more than developing a pool of trained talent. The South African training centers are intended specifically for disadvantaged students.

Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.

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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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