Sep 30, 2016

Trainee in production technology
(© picture alliance / dpa)
Some companies in America that are finding it difficult to hire and retain qualified industrial workers are looking to the German skills training model for inspiration, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

“Two million U.S. manufacturing jobs will remain vacant over the next decade due to a shortage of trained workers, according to an analysis by the Manufacturing Institute, a nonprofit advocacy group affiliated with the National Association of Manufacturers, and professional-services firm Deloitte LLP.”

Highly skilled manufacturing
(© picture alliance / ZB)
In Germany, the dual system of classroom learning and on-the-job training is used to train skilled workers in everything from manufacturing to hospitality. Young people decide before they leave school whether to pursue the trainee track or a college track. Trainees are paid by the company during their apprenticeship years and are often hired by the same companies. Uniform national standards and testing ensure that trainees who complete the programs can transport their skills to other companies.

The article specifically looked at the work of the Illinois Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (ICATT), which is working with the German-American Chamber of Commerce to get American companies in the region to adopt a German-style training system. Organizations in other states, specifically Michigan, Kentucky and Georgia, are also working with the German-American Chamber of Commerce.

Wall Street Journal article: U.S. Companies Turn to German Training Model to Fill Jobs Gap

The German Embassy in Washington launched the Skills Initiative in 2014 to share German best practices in skills training in America. The effort to bring more German-style training programs to the US got a boost in 2015 when the German Federal Ministries of Education, Economic Affairs, and Labor and the US Departments of Commerce, Labor, and Education signed a Joint Declaration of Workforce Training, which outlined the shared belief of the importance of technical education while strengthening ties between the nations.

Sharing experiences on Facebook

A Facebook post about the Wall Street Journal article on the German Embassy’s Facebook page was seen by over 40,000 people, with many sharing their own experiences with the German skills training system.


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