The American Apprenticeship Initiative Grantee National Meeting
In the United States is currently experiencing a skills gap, which has led to 7.3 million jobs going unfilled due to the lack of qualified, skilled labor. The US and Germany are working together to bridge the skills gap and connect qualified workers with these jobs by promoting widespread apprenticeship and dual education programs. These programs combine theory and practice by allowing students to learn while they work.
While the well-established German dual education system has already grown to 1.5 million trainees in Germany, the US apprenticeship system has only recently gained momentum. Large companies like Siemens are paving the way for American businesses to get involved in apprenticeship programs.
This year’s American Apprenticeship Initiative Grantee National Meeting took place in Arlington, Virginia. The event was organized by the National Governors Association (NGA), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Siemens Foundation. Since 2014, the DOL has given out $700 million in grants to support apprenticeships in the US.
David Etzweiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation, spoke at the conference. He urged Americans to continue growing apprenticeship programs because “a skilled workforce means success.” According to Etzweiler, Siemens trains 10,000 apprentices in Germany every year.
So far, the DOL Apprenticeship Initiative grant has made it possible for 19,000 young people to pursue apprenticeships in the United States. The US model is particularly focused on promoting diversity; two thirds of trainees come from underrepresented communities, including women, ethnic minorities, veterans, and formerly incarcerated people.
One of the grantee organizations highlighted as a best practice example at the event was Managed Career Solutions (MCS). MCS is collaborating DIAG USA to introduce and promote the German apprenticeship model in the United States. This collaboration was recognized for its success in diversity and inclusion among its clients. This partnership serves high technology companies in the Los Angeles area by creating jobs specializing in new software and hardware technologies.
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