Gap Inc. will work with the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) (serving as the program design and evaluation partner), local NGO's and Gap Inc. vendors as operating partners to expand the P.A.C.E. program over a 4-year period. The program launched in Cambodia in March 2009, and within the next four years it will expand to Vietnam and Bangladesh and initial investments will be made in Indonesia and China in order to prepare for P.A.C.E program implementation beyond 2012.
Within this comprehensive strategy, special attention will be paid to ensure the program is adapted appropriately to the local context. Each country program will be evaluated individually and in comparison to the other locations. The following elements will remain key to the program structure in all countries, but may be modified by geographic location:
- The first phase of the program is a six-module course on life skills. The approximately 80 hours of training includes problem-solving, communications and decision-making as well as health, financial literacy and government entitlements.
- The second phase of the program focuses on aligning technical training with the workers' learning abilities and technical potential. This component will be based on factory needs by location.
Globally, the garment industry is one of the largest employers of low-skill women workers. Despite their large numbers in the workforce, relatively few female garment workers advance in the workplace to positions of supervisors and managers, as they do not have opportunities to enhance their managerial and life skills that will enable their professional growth. In response to this need, Gap Inc. initiated the workplace education program P.A.C.E. in 2006 and launched a pilot in 2007 in two garment factories in Delhi and Bangalore, India. P.A.C.E. is the core program of Gap's commitment to advance the lives of female garment workers. The aim of the program is to positively impact female garment workers by providing them with the skills and knowledge to advance in the workplace and in their personal lives.
Few workplace development efforts are aimed at advancing women once they are in the workplace, but focus mainly on job placement. The aim of the P.A.C.E. program is to help female garment workers advance their careers by acquiring professional and interpersonal skills. P.A.C.E. is based on the belief that women's advancement is best achieved through a combination of understanding fundamental life skills (e.g., health, nutrition, entitlements, communications, decision making) and technical work skills. P.A.C.E. uniquely situates female garment workers on the growth ladder in their jobs, and builds skills towards personal empowerment and work advancement.