New Balance Athletics, Inc. announced it is adopting Gap Inc.’s P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement) program, an innovative education and training initiative, to help improve the lives of women workers in its global supply chain.
“We believe that the women in our global supply chain should have development opportunities both in their professional and personal lives,” said Monica Gorman, vice president of Responsible Leadership and Global Compliance. “The P.A.C.E. program has a proven track record of increasing the self-esteem of female workers who complete the program, which in turn gives them the skills and confidence they need to advance in the workplace and better manage personal issues at home.”
New Balance will launch the P.A.C.E. program in 2019 at two supplier footwear factory locations in Vietnam that employ more than 15,000 women. Participating workers will take courses in effective communication, problem solving, time and stress management, financial and legal literacy, and general and reproductive health, among other topics. New Balance plans to grow the program each year to ultimately reach women workers at all of its global footwear suppliers.
The P.A.C.E. program was launched in 2007 as part of Gap Inc.’s commitment to help transform the lives of one million women and girls by 2022. P.A.C.E. currently operates in 16 countries globally, mainly in the apparel industry, and the New Balance launch will be the programs first expansion to footwear suppliers. The P.A.C.E. program has demonstrated that investing in women’s education not only brings benefits to workers, but also benefits businesses through higher retention and productivity levels.
“By tapping the power of industry collaboration, we can make an immediate impact to create significant change and quickly improve the lives of women workers,” said Gorman. “Women make up more than 80% of the workforce in New Balance’s global footwear supply chain and we recognize there is a great need for increased education and skill training to help advance their professional growth. We’re excited to adopt the P.A.C.E. program and build on more than a decade of their valuable expertise and experience to benefit our suppliers.”
The P.A.C.E. program is an example of how New Balance’s is supporting implementation of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal #3 on Good Health and Well Being and Goal #5 on Gender Equality (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs).