Cummins focuses on remote learning challenges in our communities

Cummins Corporate Responsibility - Remote Learning Opportunities

The following was authored by Avril Schutte, Global Programs and Engagement Director, Cummins Inc. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant obstacles and changes to global education. UNESCO estimates that school closures have affected almost 70% of the world’s student population, a staggering 1.2 billion learners. The challenges that many people face in schooling children at home are amplified in disadvantaged communities where infrastructure and support for remote learning are lacking. Cummins employees are hard at work on reducing these hurdles for the most vulnerable in our communities.

When the pandemic first struck, schools closed around the world to keep staff and students safe. Teachers and governments had to adapt quickly to teaching methods for which many had not been trained. The challenges to remote learning began immediately: some students have no computers at home, while others have computers but no Internet access. As schools shifted to delivering content through television, radio or print materials, those, too, did not reach every student. The New York Times reports that, "By September, most students will have fallen behind where they would have been if they had stayed in classrooms, with some losing the equivalent of a full school years’ worth of academic gains."

In addition, students miss out on the nutrition programs offered in school and the personal connection to teachers and peers. Students will need emotional support to cope with months of isolation, often while families experienced health care and economic hardships.

The data suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic will have an enormous effect on student learning across the world, but students in low-income countries and in sub-Saharan Africa will be the most negatively affected. In these countries, governments have been less able to provide remote learning opportunities and guidance to teachers to address student learning needs during the crisis, according to the Brookings Institute.

Cummins recognizes the serious problems remote learning is causing in our communities. Ignacio Garcia, Vice President Latin America ABO, shared that in his region, “The closure of schools has impacted children’s lives in a very profound way. Many of the students will stay behind because of a lack of hardware and connectivity. Sadly, many of the skills required in the future are related to interaction between individuals that the current environment is not giving the opportunity to develop and learn."

Our employees are helping to bolster these connections and bridge the digital divide. Initially, our employees focused on immediate basic needs around the world, such as helping to address the hunger crisis. Now, they are working with community partners to deliver emergency grants in support of urgent learning needs. For example:

  • In Botswana, a Cummins grant is providing food and learning resources to 280 families in need.
  • In the United States, a Cummins grant is distributing learning packets, books and supplies to school age students.
  • In the United Kingdom, a Cummins grant supports 150 children with remote learning materials.

Additionally, Cummins has partnered with multiple businesses in Indianapolis, Indiana (U.S.A.), to launch an E-Learning Fund to support public student access to remote learning.

Srikanth Padmanabhan, Vice President and President – Engine Business, expressed his concern that "schools are now grappling with multiple struggles due to the COVID pandemic, including Internet connectivity, food distribution, mental health services, adaptation of new technologies, sanitization guidelines and more. These times call for all of us to work together to support our schools and each other. When schools reopen, I am confident that we, as Cummins employees, will adapt our volunteering to match these evolving and truly unprecedented needs."

To supplement the grants designed to improve access to educational materials, our employees are also volunteering their time to improve the personal connections and support for students that are often lacking during remote learning. These critical factors play a large role in increasing the number of students who return to school. I am inspired to see the many ways our employees are engaging with educators to keep learning interesting, including in:

  • Australia, where Cummins and Komatsu employees gathered on Zoom to welcome the Cummins TEC: Technical Education for Communities students back to the classroom. Employees have increased their engagement with two virtual platforms that allow them to provide tutoring to students.
  • Mexico, where Diego Medina, Cummins Care Coordinator, and the principal of two primary schools in La Pila (a disadvantaged community near San Luis Potosi), launched a five-week challenge over social media to engage students.
  • United States, where Karen Ramsey-Idem, Global Technical Operations Leader, and a team of Cummins volunteers have transitioned the Girls Inc. summer STEM program from in person to virtual.


We know that each of Cummins’ global communities will return to school with a unique set of challenges. Some may limit in-person attendance and continue to rely on remote learning for a longer time. Some will return with new guidance for sharing school supplies safely and how to space desks according to social distancing. However the return to school happens, Cummins and our employees remain committed to engaging with schools in our communities to ensure students learn and thrive, whether that’s from home or from a new environment they’ve yet to experience.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins TEC continues to transform education

Cummins TEC: Technical Education for Communities

Launched in 2012, Cummins TEC: Technical Education for Communities is the first global strategic community program built by Cummins from the ground up, with a mission to train disadvantaged youth in employable technical skills and connect them to decent work in their communities.

COVID-19, for all its negative impact, sped up the utilization of advanced technologies to do our jobs, to communicate, and to do things we used to do physically and in-person prior to the pandemic. 

In the Cummins spirit of turning challenges into opportunities, the company installed more than 80 collaborative robots at its global manufacturing sites, is using augmented/hands-free reality systems at more than 60 locations and produced more than 10 million face masks using state-of-the art manufacturing lines installed mid-year in response to the pandemic. All of these required new learnings and skillsets to get in place quickly and be a value add to the company – and Cummins is not alone. This is happening in all industries across the globe.

Cummins TEC and similar programs are critical to ensuring people have the technical skills necessary to keep up with this accelerated pace.

The program has continued to deliver on its goal of transforming lives through technical education amidst the significant challenges presented during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring students continued to learn market-relevant skills, examples of these creative solutions included: 

  • Emergency grants issued by the Cummins Foundation helped provide technology products like web cameras to teachers in Nigeria so they could teach virtually to students at home.
  • When program managers learned that students in Latin America were dropping out of school to find jobs to support their families, the Foundation granted emergency scholarships so students could continue their education.
  • When schools in China decided to conduct a two-week-long virtual fair, Cummins employees volunteered to participate as teachers.

All 24 programs in 14 countries were affected by the global pandemic last year, with many schools shifting to virtual learning or postponing classes. Schools were also forced to delay graduation and the enrollment of new students. In the face of such challenges, the program saw a record number of female students – nearly 20 percent – enter the program.

map of Cummins TEC locations

Technical skills provide a clear path to good-paying jobs and economic stability for graduates and their families. More than 1,700 students have graduated from Cummins TEC since its inception in 2012, 80 percent of whom secured good jobs with wages that far exceed the average living wage in most TEC school countries. 

Cummins TEC seeks to partner with business, government and community organizations to increase access to good jobs, develop a stronger and growing employment base in communities across the globe, and truly deliver on our mission of powering a more prosperous world.

Learn more about Cummins TEC

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins employees chose to challenge gender inequality and bias on International Women’s Day

More than 5,000 employees participated in 47 conversations hosted in 22 countries around the world on choosing to challenge gender bias and inequality on International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021.

The goal of having 24 hours of continuous conversations on gender equity – organized by the Women’s Empowerment Network, Leading Inclusion for Technical, Global Inclusion Leadership Council and Cummins Powers Women – was exceeded in number of events and incredible engagement across the company. 

Those who signed up to host a conversation were not given prescriptive instructions, which allowed for customization and authenticity. Some took the form of a moderated question-and-answer session with leaders; some focused more on sharing the internal and external progress Cummins has made on gender diversity; and others were a unique combination of the two. Each was powerful and engaging for Cummins employees around the world. 

"The COVID pandemic brought us a lot of pain. Through IWD’s discussion sessions, I realized the challenges the pandemic imposed on each of us and they helped to surface a lot of the existent, but invisible to many, gender inequalities. I felt each of us developed more self-awareness, awareness of others and empathy. This will expedite our advance towards a gender equal world," said Adriano Rishi, Executive Director – Engineering Latin America ABO. 

Cummins employees and leaders took the #ChoosetoChallenge pledge

Cummins employees and leaders also took the #choosetochallenge pledge. 
 
These are incredibly important discussions and actions that are critical to Cummins’ goal of advancing gender equality. By partnering with expert nonprofits and leveraging the unique skills and talents of Cummins employees and leaders, Cummins Powers Women has also enabled rights and opportunity for 98,000 women and girls in 18 countries in just three years. Learn more about the work Cummins is doing to further gender equality in our communities. 

Avril Schutte

Avril Schutte is the Global Programs and Engagement Director for Cummins Inc. 

Cummins Powers Women continues to challenge gender inequality and bias

Cummins Powers Women
Cummins is helping to empower a global community that needs support – women and girls.

 Note: this photo was taken prior to COVID-19

By partnering with expert nonprofits and leveraging the unique skills and talents of Cummins employees and leaders, Cummins Powers Women has also enabled equal rights and opportunity for 98,000 women and girl in 18 countries in just  three years. Launched on International Women’s Day in 2018, the now $20 million community initiative has achieved significant results including 14 gender equality law and policy changes positively impacting more than 17 million women and girls around the world that stemmed from nearly 100 advocacy grants issued through the Cummins Powers Women program.

Cummins Powers Women

“Last year was an incredibly challenging one on so many fronts, and women and people of color were among the most significantly impacted,” said Mary Titsworth Chandler, Vice President of Community Relations for Cummins and Chief Executive Officer of the Cummins Foundation. “Many of our Cummins Powers Women nonprofit partners shifted their work quickly to address urgent needs that arose from the pandemic, such as the increase in domestic violence and need for personal hygiene supplies, while also adapting their longer-term efforts to advocate for girls and women to the new realities presented by the global pandemic.”  

As the program continues to grow, Cummins has been adding new nonprofit partners and issuing new grants to existing partners. The most recent partnership addition is with Promundo, an organization focused on engaging men and boys to advance gender equality and create a world free from violence. 

"On International Women's Day – we celebrate women's leadership, and continue to affirm that men must be full partners in achieving gender equality, including by taking measures to end sexism and discrimination, remove barriers to women's advancement, and equitably share the responsibilities of raising children and taking care of our homes," says Gary Barker, President and CEO, Promundo-US. "Along with our partners at the Kering Foundation, we're thrilled to partner with Cummins to help advance this vision and look toward the future – focusing on creating change early in boys' lives, by shifting the ways in which we're raising them. By supporting boys to embrace connection, reject sexism, and break free from harmful stereotypes, we're hoping to set the stage for a more equal future."

“We chose to support Promundo because of our shared belief that working with men and boys to change harmful gender norms and unequal power dynamics is a critical part of the solution to achieving gender equality,” said Antonio Leitao, Vice President of Cummins’ Europe Area Business Organization. 

The Cummins Powers Women nonprofit partners offer programs focused on gender equality such as on-the-ground mentoring and teaching of women and girls, to financial empowerment through entrepreneurship, to leadership development and advocacy at the regional level. Not only does Cummins Powers Women help to fund these efforts, but more than 1,300 company employees volunteered about 3,000 hours to directly helping our partner nonprofits. The program has made strides in accelerating gender equality, and Cummins remains committed to this work. 

Interested in learning more about how your company or organization can get involved with gender equality efforts?

Contact us 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

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