Eastman Chemical Co. has created an innovative partnership with Aether Global Education, a nonprofit think-tank focused on transformative learning through design education.

The Eastman Foundation, a private charitable foundation that focuses on innovative opportunities, and the Eastman Innovation Lab, a strategic program that focuses on advancing innovation through design and material education, are investing in this effort to promote the importance of design education and how creative students and professionals can improve local communities around the world.

Eastman, based in Kingsport, Tenn., invests in efforts that are catalytic and that create sustainable improvements in the areas of education, empowerment, economic development and the environment.

“The collective potential value of public-private partnerships is dramatic,” said David A. Golden, senior vice president, chief legal and sustainability officer and corporate secretary for Eastman. “Aether’s project-based approach of exposing future leaders to real world problem-solving across cultures and geographies combined with their support of improving quality of life complements Eastman’s strategy of delivering value to our global community.”

Aether delivers thought leadership, new curricula and innovative teaching platforms that prepare varying age groups for work in the current technology-driven, global business environment. In addition to Shift Design, an open community of makers, builders, designers and creators, the organization has two other teaching platforms: META, a co-curricular experience for college graduates expected to commence in 2017, and PRSM, a program designed to help mid-career professionals and executives drive innovation within their own organizations.

Eastman has been involved with the design community for more than 15 years and will continue materials education through the Eastman Innovation Lab and using design thinking in its corporate and Foundation partnerships to help improve communities around the world.

The Eastman Innovation Lab is a strategic program that focuses on advancing innovation through design and education. It is dedicated to becoming a community resource that inspires new possibilities by pairing its experts in material science with leaders in industrial design and architecture.

Eastman’s fibers division manufactures acetate and polyester fibers for the apparel industry. The company serves customers in about 100 countries and had 2015 revenues of $9.6 billion.