Olympians Michael Phelps & Katie Ledecky Join Team Panasonic to Empower Youth

Olympians Michael Phelps & Katie Ledecky Join Team Panasonic to Empower Youth


Newark, NJ—Cooperation, team spirit and contribution to society are among seven principles that have guided Panasonic for more than 100 years. The company’s 270,000-plus employees, who enliven those principles, comprise Team Panasonic. Moreover, Panasonic welcomed four new members. Michael Phelps, philanthropist and the most decorated Olympian of all time with 28 Olympic medals, joined Lauren Sallata, chief marketing officer of Panasonic Corporation of North America, to announce Team Panasonic at CES 2020.

Michael Phelps

Also joining Team Panasonic are 15-time world champion and five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky; Lex Gillette, four-time Paralympic silver medalist in the long jump and motivational speaker; and Japanese-American Olympic hopeful Sakura Kokumai, a seven-time U.S. national karate champion.

Together with Panasonic, the athletes’ shared social purpose is simple but powerful: they will seek to inspire today’s youth to dream big and to work hard to make those dreams come true.

“I am honored to join Team Panasonic, a brand that reflects my philosophy and mission to promote healthy living and the pursuit of dreams,” Michael Phelps said. “I appreciate Panasonic’s long-standing commitment to social responsibility with a priority of creating solutions that address today’s societal needs.”

Team Panasonic to Power Student Goals and STEM Skills

As part of the partnership, Panasonic will support the expansion of new locations of the Michael Phelps Foundation signature program, IM, at local Boys & Girls Clubs. IM has reached 30,000 children with its water safety, healthy living as well as goal-setting curriculum.

Katie-Ledecky Michael Phelps
Katie Ledecky

In addition, Panasonic will sponsor Katie Ledecky’s STEM education program. The program enables students to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math through a digital course. Over the next five years, 1.4 million new computer science jobs will need filling in the United States. However, there are only about 400,000 computer science students in that employment pipeline, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Currently, there are 500,000+ vacant tech jobs.

“I am delighted and honored that Panasonic shares my values regarding education and has generously chosen to sponsor this initiative,” said Ledecky.

Panasonic: A Culture of Investing in Students

Panasonic has long invested in programs as well as institutions that support the development of students, youth and tomorrow’s workforce. For example, in Newark, New Jersey, home of Panasonic’s North American headquarters, high school students intern at the company during the school year. As a result, they gain real-world experience in the corporate environment while applying tech skills in support of business projects.

Sakura Kokumai

Also, Hussmann, a Panasonic company, along with a leading technical school, runs TechX. The program helps meet the demand for trained refrigeration technicians by offering a free eight-week training program. It also creates a path toward a well-paying career.

In addition, the Panasonic Foundation recently launched Coding As a Second Language computer coding academies. It did so in collaboration with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, which teaches computer programming to Latino youth. This program also makes pathways in tech accessible to underrepresented minorities. Moreover, it helps transform communities by providing access to technology where there is otherwise little available.

“Contributing to society has been part of Panasonic’s culture for a century,” Sallata said. “It’s who we are but developing the next generation of skilled workers is also essential to our success as a tech company and will enable us to continue to address some of society’s biggest issues. We’re proud to have Team Panasonic’s help in this most important effort.”