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The Good Business Lab foundation promoting soft skills for workers in India

Training workers with soft skills like time and stress management, problem solving, communication and teamwork can have big a impact on productivity of workers and company profits, says a University of Michigan researcher. Achyuta Adhvaryu, Assistant Professor of business economics and public policy at Michigan's Ross School of Business, has studied the impact of soft skills in the garment industry in India over the past five years, and has now launched a foundation to take the message to other sectors in India.

Along with Anant Nyshadham of Boston College, Adhvaryu started the Good Business Lab last year. Anant Ahuja from Shahi Exports, India's largest garment manufacturing factory, is also a co-founder and CEO of the Lab. Adhvaryu says the goal with starting a foundation is to study interventions and incubate new ideas and serve as a platform to disseminate findings from the research.

With women making up roughly 35 per cent of the workforce the textiles and apparel sector employs more than 119 million workers in India. The garment sector is also the largest employer of low-skilled and semi-skilled female workers. The Good Business Lab is planning to establish 10 garment-sector skill enhancement centers for women at rural locations, informing job creation policy at the national level. It has received funding from the U.K. Department for International Development, the Indian government and Shahi Exports for the evaluation and implementation of the project.

The women who complete the training will be offered a job at one of the Shahi's garment factories and the lab will track the women over a period of time to see its impact.

 
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