Ambassador Wittig: Dual Education - A Competitor to College

May 5, 2017

Arial view of production facility in South Carolina Enlarge image The plant in South Carolina produces the BMW X vehicles. (© dpa /BMW AG) In South Carolina, BMW not only employs 9,000 people, it also trains 100 apprentices at any one time, like Maria Puckett. Puckett was one of several apprentices at German companies in the United States who took part in a White House roundtable on workforce development in March with President Donald Trump, Chancellor Angela Merkel, and CEOs of those German companies.

Ambassador Peter Wittig writes about companies applying the German model of workforce training in the United States in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, published on May 4, 2017.

"As high-wage countries, Germany and the U.S. face similar challenges in protecting existing production facilities and creating new manufacturing jobs. One of the most decisive factors for companies is whether they can find skilled and motivated workers, which is what apprenticeship programs provide."

Today, more American companies are choosing the path similar to the German-style skills training schemes. The German Embassy's Skills Initiative helps to facilitate these efforts, Wittig writes.

"The success of the German apprenticeship model builds on the conviction that it is an equivalent alternative to college education," Wittig writes.

And successful apprentices like Puckett are also doing their part to promote the training model to their American peers. 

"At the White House roundtable, Ms. Puckett said she would like to reduce the stigma of vocational education and promote it to local high schoolers. America needs more role models like her."

Ambassador Wittig's Wall Street Journal Op-Ed on May 4, 2017

German Apprenticeships in South Carolina

Chancellor Merkel meeting President Trump

German CEO’s and Apprentices Advocate For Vocational Training at the White House

As part of the business focused first meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump, three CEO’s of German companies and their respective apprentices met with the two leaders to discuss the benefits of the dual system of vocational training.