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Schneider Electric signs a nationwide agreement with the French Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Employment to help young people in disadvantaged neighborhoods enter the work force


Schneider Electric has renewed its commitment to community outreach by signing an agreement with the French Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Employment to help underprivileged young people enter the work force.

The French government has decided to make it a priority to provide job opportunities for young people from depressed neighborhoods known as “Sensitive Urban Zones” (Zones Urbaines Sensibles) and areas receiving targeted public assistance through urban community contracts (Contrats Urbains de Cohésion Sociale). The objective is to open the door to long-term employment and meet the hiring needs of companies by providing these young people with additional support.

The agreement grew out of a concern for the young people living in these neighborhoods, where the unemployment rate for the under-25 age group is 42% compared to 23% in other urban areas. A lack of job opportunities and a younger, less qualified population are among the main causes.
Paradoxically, these areas have considerable potential for business and job creation, yet many local college and university graduates find it extremely difficult to access the job market. At the same time, the French economy is starting to experience recruiting difficulties.

“By signing this agreement, Schneider Electric has demonstrated its commitment to helping young people in disadvantaged neighborhoods find work and providing them with genuine skills-development opportunities,” said Jean-François Pilliard, Executive Vice President of Strategic Human Resources & Organization at Schneider Electric. “It’s essential to encourage all kinds of talent and foster diversity, which is an enormous business and performance advantage.”

“Continuing to do our part is crucial,” said Gilles Vermot Desroches, Senior Vice President of Sustainable Development at Schneider Electric. “This agreement is another one of the many training and job access initiatives in which we already participate in France. Helping these young people is also about developing our ability to innovate and breed innovation.”

Under this agreement, Schneider Electric has committed to:
• Implementing specific programs or partnering existing programs each year to foster business creation in disadvantaged neighborhoods
• Promoting and building awareness about Schneider Electric’s businesses
• Using work study programs as a springboard to potential employment
• Stepping up the “100 opportunities – 100 jobs” campaign across France

“100 opportunities – 100 jobs”

The annual “100 opportunities – 100 jobs” campaign targets low-skilled residents of depressed neighborhoods, aged 18 to 30, who are motivated to take part in a job opportunity program. The objective is to open the door to long-term employment within a period of 36 months by offering personalized skills-qualification paths with the help of 30 companies brought together and led by Schneider Electric. A positive outcome target of 60% has been set, meaning that participants obtain a fixed-term contract of more than six months, an open-ended contract or a skills-qualification training contract. The first “100 opportunities - 100 jobs” campaign has been launched in January 2005 in Chalon sur Saône, in partnership with Schneider Electric subsidiary SFG (2005-2007).

-Chalon sur Saône (after three years)
Of the 121 participants, 62 (or 51%) obtained an open-ended contract, 14 (or 12%) received support in their job searches and 44 (37%) left the program before it ended.
-Grenoble (after two years)
Of the 79 participants, 34 (or 43%) obtained an open-ended contract, 25 (or 32%) received support in their job searches and 20 (25%) left the program before it ended.
In addition, 256 young people attended an encounter organized in a Grenoble neighborhood that led to 494 job interviews with 21 companies and 28 three-month contracts.

The “100 opportunities - 100 jobs” campaign was deployed in Savoy and in Normandy in 2007.


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