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Gap Plans to Expand Female Garment Worker Education Program

Gap plans to educate one million women globally by 2020. Gap rolled out its ambitious plans on Monday at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York City. Gap’s goal is part of an expansion to the company’s factory worker and community education program, P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement).

To reach its goal, Gap stated it will broaden its learning program with new curriculum and expand its reach to teenage girls, as well as introduce a leadership program for P.A.C.E. graduates who have demonstrated leadership ability in their communities. The company will also offer access to their proprietary program to global partners and other corporations to further broaden the program’s reach.

Since 2007, Gap’s P.A.C.E. program has reached more than 30,000 women in 10 countries, offering life-skills classes to female garment workers, including up to 80 hours of classes in nine subject areas, such as communication skills; financial literacy; time and stress management; and problem solving and decision-making.

Gap reports that the program has a strong business impact by reducing turnover and absenteeism. In 2014 P.A.C.E. received the Empowerment of Women Award by the Global CSR Summit, and in 2012 was recognized by former President Bill Clinton for its benefits to women’s lives.

In a statement, Gap CEO Art Peck, said, “From Phnom Penh to Pittsburgh, women share in common an ambition to advance. What some lack are opportunities, particularly access to education. We are committed to advancing the lives of one million women by expanding our P.A.C.E. program, and we hope others will join us. We know that with the right opportunities, women become powerful agents of change in their families and in their communities.”