Cooperation, team spirit and contribution to society are among the seven principles that have guided Panasonic for more than 100 years. Team Panasonic is made up of the company's 270,000 plus employees worldwide and today, Panasonic welcomed four new members. Michael Phelps, philanthropist and the most decorated Olympian of all time with 28 Olympic medals, 23 gold, joined Lauren Sallata, chief marketing officer of Panasonic Corporation of North America, to announce Team Panasonic at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Also joining Team Panasonic are 15-time world champion and five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky; Lex Gillette, four-time Paralympic silver medalist in the long jump and motivational speaker; and Japanese-American Olympic hopeful Sakura Kokumai, seven-time USA national karate champion. With a deep respect for moving forward, inspiring change, growth, innovation and social good, Phelps, Ledecky, Gillette, and Kokumai, are a natural fit for Panasonic.
Together with Panasonic, their shared social purpose is simple but powerful: inspire today's youth to dream big and to work hard to make those dreams come true.
"I am honored to join Team Panasonic, a brand that reflects my philosophy and mission to promote healthy living and the pursuit of dreams," Phelps said. "I appreciate Panasonic's long-standing commitment to social responsibility with a priority of creating solutions that address today's societal needs."
Partnering to Power Student Goals and STEM Skills
As part of the partnership, Panasonic will support the expansion of new locations of the Michael Phelps Foundation signature program – IM – at local Boys & Girls Clubs, which has reached over 30,000 children with its water safety, healthy living and goal-setting curriculum.
Additionally, Panasonic will sponsor Ledecky's new STEM education program, where students will explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math through a digital course. Over the next five years, 1.4 million new computer science jobs will need to be filled in the United States – but there are only about 400,000 computer science students in that employment pipeline, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Currently, there are over 500,000 vacant tech jobs.
"I am delighted and honored that Panasonic shares my values regarding education and has generously chosen to sponsor this initiative," said Ledecky, who was recognized as the Division I Academic All-American of the Year during her sophomore year at Panasonic has long invested in programs and institutions that support the development of students, youth and tomorrow's workforce. For example, in Newark, NJ, home of Panasonic's North American headquarters, high school students intern at the company during the school year, gaining real-world experience in the corporate environment while applying tech skills in support of business projects. Also, Hussmann, a Panasonic company, together with a leading technical school, runs TechX, a program that helps meet the demand for trained refrigeration technicians by offering a free eight-week training program that creates a path toward a well-paying career. Most recently, the Panasonic Foundation launched "Coding as a Second Language" computer coding academies in collaboration with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, which introduces and teaches computer programming to Latino youth.. The program makes pathways in tech accessible to underrepresented minorities and transforms communities by providing access to technology where there is otherwise little available.