Skills Initiative Goes to Charlotte, North Carolina
Enlarge image Ambassador Ammon speaks at the Global Competitiveness Summit in Charlotte, NC. (© CPCC) 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. In his speech, the Ambassador outlined the German Embassy’s Skills Initiative, which is aimed at enhancing skills training in the Charlotte region and beyond.
Other speakers at the conference with whom the ambassador met included US Acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris; North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker; Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx; GIZ Board Chairwoman Tanja Gönner; and Tony Zeiss, president of Central Piedmont Community College.
German companies in Charlotte have already established an example of best practice by entering into a partnership for company-driven training programs with Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC). These training programs are so excellent that they were commended by President Obama in his 2012 State of the Union Address.
“CPCC's cooperation with business is a shining example,” Ambassador Ammon said in his speech. “Charlotte's success in attracting foreign investment, a good part of it German, demonstrates how important the workforce skills element is for regional and national plans to build up new business, advanced manufacturing and good jobs for Americans. … I am proud that Germany has been a good partner in this splendid endeavor.”
Enlarge image Ambassador Ammon, second from right, visited one of CPCC's learning labs with CPCC President Tony Zeiss, left, and GIZ Board Chairwoman Tanja Gönner, second from left, after a Skills Initiative roundtable event in North Carolina. (© Germany.info) Acting Secretary Harris, in his speech, recognized Germany’s commitment to workforce skills training. “[Ambassador Ammon’s] presence here today exemplifies our German partners' commitment to a strong and productive relationship between our countries and, in particular, to the skills of American and German workers.”
There are close to 200 German owned companies in the Charlotte region – most of them in manufacturing – making Germany the region’s top foreign investor. Conference participants agreed that providing the workforce with the skills required in an advanced economy was necessary both for the success of established companies and to maintain a competitive edge in attracting new business.
“I understand Charlotte is ready to take training to the next level, and I learned from Dr. Zeiss that you don't intend to stop until Charlotte has become the training capital of the US. Germany, the embassy with its Skills Initiative, and I personally stand ready to move forward together.”
Ambassador Ammon said the German Embassy’s Skills Initiative will help to raise workforce skills training in the Charlotte region to the next level. GIZ – Germany’s federal agency for technical cooperation – announced its intention to establish a presence in Charlotte in order to work systematically with partners on transferring appropriate elements from Germany’s vocational training system. Other partners of the Skills Initiative – the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce from Karlsruhe, Germany – were also in attendance and will contribute to this effort . The lessons learned in Charlotte could be applied to other parts of the US.