Skills Initiative: Enhancing German-American Cooperation on Workforce Training

The German Embassy in Washington, DC presents the Skills Initiative as one of the cornerstones of its work.

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.

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.

White Paper

The Skills Initiative: Expanding Apprenticeship in the U.S.— Lessons from the German Dual Education System

This white paper was prepared for the German Embassy by Bryan Kamm of AMskills (American Manufacturing Skills Initiative) and Robert Lerman of the Urban Institute. It gives an overview of the German dual training system and of the Skills Initiative.

Skills Initiative

Brochure: Skills Initiative

Learn more about the Skills Initiative and the German dual system of vocational training in this brochure.

Skills Initiative

Has the Skills Initiative Visited Your State?

Skills Initiative events have taken place all along the East Coast and Midwest, and more states are soon to follow.  Dozens of companies have participated in talks with colleges and community respresentatives in participation with the German Embassy.

Mechanic Training

Dual Training in the USA

Dual Training has also found a home in many US states. German companies have implemented successful programs, and US state governments have also taken the initiative to develop job training programs. Here are a few highlights of dual training in the US.

Commerce Department logo

Secretary Penny Pritzker Keynote Address at Skills Initiative Conference

"When the United States and Germany work together, both nations’ economies grow; our businesses thrive; and our families prosper,"said Secretary Pritzker at the Skills Initiative Conference.

Siemens' Charlotte plant

Skilled Labor in the US and Germany: Training to Work, Working to Train

The type of dual-track training that mixes equal parts education and work, which essentially cast the skilled-labor standard in Germany many years ago, is catching on among certain community colleges and firms in America. And thus far the import is faring well.

Beer and Jobs

The German Vocational Training System: An Overview

German vocational training, which seamlessly mixes theory and practice into a system that is ingrained into the socio-economic framework, is recognized the world over as a foundational, highly effective model for producing skilled workers.

Training to Work

Skills Initiative

Secretary Penny Pritzker Praises Skills Initiative

Commerce Department logo

“In addition, the Commerce Department is proud to voice our support for the German Embassy’s Skills Initiative. I am thrilled that the Embassy is leading a campaign across the United States to show local chambers and educational institutions the benefits of Germany’s innovative training models," said Secretary Pritzker in Spartanburg.

Skills Initiative Road Show

Skills Road

The Skills Initiative hit the road in November for a tour across six states. The Embassy team participated in roundtable discussions about skills training and introduced the German dual training model. The team also met with young people who have interest in participating in skills training programs.

Dual Training in Germany

(© FFO)

Dual Training in Germany

RGIT Vocational Education and Training in Germany

German Foreign Chamber of Commerce (c) ahk

The Representative of German Industry and Trade (RGIT) has a wealth of information about the German system of vocational education and training.

German American Chambers of Commerce

German American Chambers of Commerce

With a network of six offices and 2,500 member companies throughout the United States and Germany, the German American Chambers of Commerce offer a broad spectrum of activities and services. 

NPR Series: Manufacturing Landscape in the USA


National Public Radio has a running series about manufacting in the US. The series deals with the skills gap, training in the workplace and the future of manufactering.