Alcoa Foundation hires Cone to promote STEM effort

Cone will support the firm's sponsorship of a US manufacturing team at the WorldSkills Competition.

BOSTON: Alcoa Foundation, the nonprofit arm of lightweight metals company Alcoa, has hired Cone Communications to promote its US manufacturing team at the WorldSkills Competition in August.

Cone, which began working on the account in March following an RFP, will support the organization’s sponsorship of the SkillsUSA team in the Manufacturing Team Challenge at the 43rd WorldSkills Competition in São Paolo, Brazil, this summer. The competition is one of the largest technical education and skills events and brings together students from all over the world.

Byron Calamese, Cone’s EVP of brand communications and MD of New York, said the firm was selected based on its legacy in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) space, such as work with FIRST Robotics and Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds initiative.

Over the last 63 years, the Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $615 million to support and improve the environment and STEM education around the globe, according to a statement.

"Part of our work will be to debunk some of the perceptions about manufacturing and showcase why it’s such a critical part of everything we do, how that landscape is shifting overall, and the value it can bring to individuals as they think about their career choices in the future," Calamese explained.

In addition to highlighting data points related to manufacturing, Cone will focus on "putting a face behind it and emotionalizing the story," especially around the next generation of people who are already in or will join manufacturing, he said.

Cone, which is the Alcoa Foundation’s first PR agency partner, will work with the organization through the fall. Budget information was not disclosed.

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