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