“Skills Initiative is a win-win idea. Everyone benefits. German-American cooperation in workforce skills development will provide opportunities in local communities across the USA for good jobs, quality training and businesses that succeed in the US and global markets.”
-- Ambassador Peter Ammon
Enlarge image Ambassador Peter Ammon speaking at the Aspen Institute. (© Germany.info) The German Embassy in Washington, DC presents the Skills Initiative as one of the cornerstones of its work for 2012 and 2013.
Through the Skills Initiative, the German Embassy is bringing together German and American businesses and local education/training providers with the aim of developing training programs best suited to businesses’ needs. The Embassy launched the Skills Initiative to identify and spread best practices in sustainable workforce development in the USA.
- In meetings with the governors of Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia, Ambassador Ammon encountered great interest in the subject. Steps are currently being taken to set up workshops between German companies and training providers in these states.
- The Skills Initiative was kicked off at a conference on May 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. For more information, see “What Works in American and German Manufacturing,” below, as well as the link to the Aspen Institute on the right.
- Ambassador Peter Ammon had a meeting on this issue with the German CEO Roundtable in the USA at the German Embassy on May 15, 2012.
- On May 22, 2012 the German CEO Roundtable of the Carolinas discussed how German companies can work together to address the shortage of skilled workers (See link below entitled "CEO Roundtable for Carolinas Discusses Skilled Workforce Development").
- Enlarge image The training center at Stihl Incorporated in Virginia (© Germany.info) On August 10, 2012, German manufacturing companies in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia met to discuss cooperating on work force skills development. They decided to form a group to participate in the Skills Initiative. The meeting took place at the offices of Stihl Inc. and was chaired by Peter Mueller, executive vice president of Stihl and honorary consul of Germany. Peter Fischer, minister (Economics) of the Embassy took part. Participants also viewed Stihl’s state of the art manufacturing facility, including it’s training center. The Hampton Roads area is the most important industrial agglomeration between Washington, DC, and Atlanta and is home to many successful German companies.
- On December 5, 2012, in Ohio, Ambassador Ammon and Ohio Governor John Kasich met with Ohio-based German business leaders and educational institutions to discuss Germany's expertise in vocational training and how to make Ohio's businesses even stronger through applying German–honed techniques; and to foster closer collaboration between businesses based in Ohio and local technical training providers.
- On January 29, 2013, in Washington, DC, Ambassador Ammon hosted high-ranking roundtable forum focusing on opportunities for intensifying German-American cooperation in workforce skills development. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca M. Blank was the keynote speaker at the forum, which also brought together Volker Treier of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), CEOs of numerous German companies invested in the United States, education and training providers, and other experts.
- On February 21, 2013, the Ambassador, together with Acting US Secretary of Labor Seth Harris, took part in the Global Competitiveness Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina, joining 400 business leaders. One of the key findings of the summit was that German-style workforce training, which is based on the dual principle of work and learning, can help fill the skills gap that employers face in the Charlotte region, as well as in other parts of the US.
Now the Embassy, through Skills Initiative, is seeking cooperation with federal states, locally convening groups of German companies and bringing them together with training providers so that they can work on the best fit for training programs in their area.
Throughout the USA, German and American companies have identified workforce skills as a key challenge to their success. It is a factor in investment decisions.
German companies can make a decisive contribution to solving the problem because they are familiar with the excellent vocational and education training system in Germany. It is called the “dual system of vocational training” and is a major reason for Germany’s economic success. It provides sound qualifications in the crucial space above high school and below university.
In Germany, companies and the public sector share the responsibility for workforce training. Trainees split their time, learning both on the job as well as in a school setting. The private and public sectors work hand in hand to develop a coherent curriculum and provide optimal training facilities – always bearing in mind the real-world requirements of business. The result is a workforce that is well qualified to succeed in an advanced economy. Find out more about the training system in Germany in the article on the right, “The German Vocational Training System: An Overview.”