Electronic Data Systems (EDS) has embarked on a mammoth retraining program aimed at providing 20,000 of its 87,000 technical workers with updated business and technology skills by the end of this year.
The effort began about a year ago, when the Texas-based IT services giant began evaluating the skills of its 117,000 worldwide workers and consolidated multiple IT skills databases into a single SAP skills repository, vice-president of global learning and development, Dave Arcemont, said.
The program is part of the EDS Multi-Year Plan, which Arcemont described as a revolving footprint of where the company is going over the next three years.
"We worked very closely with the product managers in the portfolio group to see what skills were needed to support customer demand," he said.
That analysis of customer project demand found that EDS needed to retrain a large number of its 87,000 technical workers with outdated skills so they could learn newer technologies such as .Net, Java and J2EE, Arcemont said.
Last September, EDS launched a retraining Web portal for those employees, encouraging them to take advantage of online and classroom courses being offered.
"We had learning advisers on a hotline to provide real-time coaching," Arcemont said.
So far, EDS has had 17,200 employees enter the retraining program.
It has set a target of having 20,000 technical workers enrolled in one or more of the 718 training courses it has set up for 2005, according to Arcemont.