With Unique Employee Programming, Arconic Connects Corporate Values with Meaningful Community Engagement

Oct 30, 2018
Members of the Arconic African Heritage Network from Arconic Cleveland Operations participated in an aerospace career fair at John Marshall High School, one of Cleveland Metro School's engineering magnet schools. Volunteers engaged students in one-on-one discussions, and talked about their career paths and the manufacturing industry.

Companies of all sizes are seeking strategies to engage diverse employees and advance inclusive values. Arconic, a global leader in lightweight metals manufacturing and engineering, is on the cutting edge of diversity and inclusion initiatives. Leveraging three unique programs to engage its more than 41,500 employees worldwide, Arconic links organizational goals and values with opportunities to make a meaningful difference in the communities where its employees live and work.

Employee Resource Groups have a proactive role in inclusion and diversity efforts, as critical drivers of employee engagement; recruitment and retention; and brand building through community engagement.  There are six ERGs available to Arconic employees, representing women, people of African heritage, Hispanics, LGBTQ, early-career employees and veterans. One of the longstanding ERGs, the Arconic African Heritage Network, has made community engagement a cornerstone of its mission. The group partners with the National Society of Black Engineers on several initiatives, including activities for middle school and college students. For example, Howard University students get hands-on manufacturing exposure through touring Arconic’s facility in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and interacting with plant personnel. And in Davenport, Iowa, employees sponsor and train a local robotics team with grant support from the Arconic Foundation, which provides funding for STEM and workforce development initiatives in communities where Arconic facilities are located.

Arconic’s ERGs have played a major role in leading volunteerism for the company; in fact, nearly 50 percent of the more than 200 volunteer events Arconic has participated in to date in 2018 have been led by ERGs – many of them supporting engineering and technical skills training at colleges and technical schools, and creating access to STEM education opportunities for members of under-represented communities. By connecting the ERGs to available nonprofit support through the Arconic Foundation, the company is able to build the narrative of manufacturing as an exciting profession and career option.

“As chair of the Arconic African Heritage Network and a director of Arconic Foundation, I am sensitive to and proud that our ERGs and foundation work together to expand and multiply our impact in communities where we work and live,” said Bruce Thompson, who also serves as vice president, internal audit, at Arconic. “Their collective work has been tremendous and all employees should be proud of it.”

Arconic Global Rolled Products employees and their family members in Kunshan, China, participated in a green walk-a-thon with the Kunshan Volunteer Association. Volunteers completed an 8K journey through the city’s downtown area, distributing pamphlets and recyclable shopping bags to the public while encouraging them to incorporate environmentally friendly practices into their daily life.

Arconics in Motion promotes wellness and physical fitness through charity. AIM encourages employees, as well as their friends and families, to participate in marathons, walks, rides and other fitness events that benefit cause-based community organizations. The program offers a way to make an impact, encourages teamwork and builds camaraderie amongst employees.

Arconics Coming Together in Our Neighborhoods supports employees volunteering their time, energy and skills for service projects that directly address community needs. ACTION projects are as diverse as the communities they serve and are not prescribed by foundation or corporate leadership. Projects range from skills-based volunteering in STEM camps and school robotics programs, to hands-on community clean-ups, packing meals for charitable meal delivery, and rebuilding homes for veterans.

To maximize impact, project participation carries a minimum of 16 hours, where at least four employees engage for four hours. Opportunities are deployed through ERGs, employee-led community advisory boards or a single point of contact at each Arconic location, with a focus on diverse projects that employees care about and that foster a direct connection to communities.

Recognition of employee volunteerism efforts and community commitment is a key part of Arconic’s culture. Through partnerships with DonorsChoose.org and GlobalGiving, all volunteers are awarded charitable gift cards, enabling them to donate to causes they care about. Throughout the year, employee teams receive recognition by company leaders and through employee media channels and social media. And each October, Arconic holds a company-wide Month of Recognition and an Arconic Foundation-sponsored contest where the best volunteer initiatives are acknowledged with a trophy and $10,000 grants are awarded to the nonprofits with whom they volunteered.  

Arconic is a member company in the Points of Light Corporate Service Council, which provides networking opportunities, best practices and new ideas that catalyze high-impact social change initiatives. To learn more about how your company could benefit from membership, connect with us at [email protected].

Madi Donham