A good start to your career

“Earn while you learn”: Five facts about the success of the German dual vocational training model in the USA.

Bosch offers excellent prospects in the USA.
Bosch offers excellent prospects in the USA. Bosch

What is special about dual vocational training?

Practical work in a company and accompanying instruction at a vocational school – these are the two pillars of the German dual vocational training model. The fact that participants receive a monthly salary is particularly attractive for the apprentices.

How does this dual vocational training get to the USA?

German companies with production facilities in the USA took the dual vocational training model with them. The engineering and electronics company Bosch built its first factory in the USA in Charleston (South Carolina) as long ago as 1973 – and as early as 1976 launched a dual vocational training cooperation agreement with Trident Technical College that is still in place today. Other major German companies have also established the dual vocational training scheme in the USA, for example the automotive manufacturers BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen, and the industrial group Siemens.

Does it work in smaller companies too?

Indeed it does: So as to help small and medium-sized enterprises – German and American – introduce dual vocational training, in 2015 the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest launched the dual training scheme Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (ICATT). In 2016 the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States initiated the Georgia Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (GA CATT).

How does the US labour market benefit from the German initiatives?

The ICATT and GA CATT schemes offer a three-year apprenticeship for various industrial jobs and combine – in line with German dual training system standards – practical and theoretical training. The apprentices acquire sector-specific expertise, receive a salary, and graduate with an associate degree (as well as German Chamber of Commerce and Industry [DIHK] certification). The model is increasingly in demand as an answer to the lack of skilled workers in the USA.

How do US politicians rate the dual vocational training system?

Over the past few years both President Donald Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama have praised dual vocational training based on the German model. Furthermore, with a view to establishing dual vocational training still further, the United States Department of Labor declared Charleston in South Carolina a national model region: The Charleston Regional Youth Apprenticeships scheme prepares participants for highly promising careers in various fields of work.

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