The PepsiCo Foundation, the philanthropic arm of one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies and nonprofit organization, the International Youth Foundation (IYF), announced the launch of their Passport to Success® Traveler program — an online, mobile-friendly training course for students to learn and practice life skills. Referred to by many names—soft skills, social-emotional skills, essential skills, 21st century skills, power skills, non-cognitive skills, work readiness skills—life skills include self-confidence, responsibility, teamwork, and communication, and they are necessary to enabling young people to succeed at home, in school and on the job.


Life skills are increasingly essential to company and employee success in today’s rapidly changing, globalized economy. According to LinkedIn’s latest Global Talent Trends Report, 92 percent of talent professionals surveyed said soft skills matter as much or more than hard skills in the hiring process. Passport to Success® Traveler addresses this skills need head-on by focusing on areas of development that international experts agree are critical, such as preparing youth to be able to manage conflict and adept at critical and creative thinking.


Developed with a $2.5 million investment from The PepsiCo Foundation, Passport to Success® Traveler is a mobile-first, game-based learning, digital version of IYF’s existing, printed soft skills curriculum that is already used in classrooms and workshops around the globe. Currently available in American English and British English, Spanish, and Hinglish (a blend of Hindi and English languages in Hindi with Roman characters), with an Arabic version launching later in the year, the 18-unit, 10-hour online curriculum is designed for 16-24-year-olds and features a range of lessons that include: how to secure a job, manage personal finances, and master social-emotional skills, including conflict management and teamwork. The curriculum is designed with guidance from native speakers to be culturally relevant and appropriate to each market.


While these skills are increasingly important for success in the workplace, a report from UNESCO in 2019 found that young women and girls are more likely than young men to be excluded from education; further, according to the International Labour Organization, women and girls often lack access to vocational education and skills training. A 2019 International Youth Foundation and PepsiCo study conducted by the International Center for Research on Women found that soft skills programs that work for young women tend to encourage holistic youth development, offer gender-smart programming and address societal norms that can prevent women from succeeding in the workplace.


To support young women, Passport to Success® Traveler was designed to be gender-smart and features scenarios with women serving in positions of authority and in non-traditional professional roles. In addition, the curriculum targets the societal barriers impeding gender equality specific to each country in which it will be offered. It emphasizes holistic youth development, focusing on teaching skills that benefit young people in all areas of life, to empower girls and young women toward continuing education, sustainable livelihoods and workforce success. The PepsiCo Foundation and IYF are working with non-governmental organizations and nonprofits, public education organizations, and communicating directly with young people to help one million young women and girls access the curriculum by 2025.


“PepsiCo is proud to partner with the International Youth Foundation to support this curriculum and help young women gain the skills they need to enter today’s workforce and be successful,” said Blair Bennett, PepsiCo Senior Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition. “At PepsiCo, we are committed to raising the bar on talent and diversity and Passport to Success® Traveler is one way for us to help create inclusive environments and economic opportunity for young people around the world.”


“At IYF, we know that whatever the future of work holds, young people—and especially young women—will guide its growth and trajectory for decades to come,” said Susan Reichle, President & CEO of the International Youth Foundation. “We also know diversity—and the innovation a diverse workforce engenders—will be essential to the success of organizations and corporations across sectors. That’s why we created Passport to Success® Traveler to help young women and men unlock their potential.”


The PepsiCo Foundation has invested nearly $9 million with IYF since 2014. In addition to Passport to Success® Traveler, The PepsiCo Foundation is working with IYF in Mexico to improve the work readiness skills of female students in the country’s public technical high school system and supporting IYF’s work in South Africa to prepare young women for the workforce by integrating life skills training into the country’s college system.


The PepsiCo Foundation’s partnership with IYF supports PepsiCo’s goal to invest $100 million by 2025 in initiatives to provide 12.5 million women and girls around the world with essential resources for workforce readiness and in programs that empower women in the food system and farming.


SOURCE: PepsiCo, Inc.