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Heimat Abroad: The DIAG USA Foundation and its German American Vocational Career Program

July 22, 2019

Heimat Abroad: The DIAG USA Foundation and its German American Vocational Career Program

Through the efforts of the Skills Initiative, the DIAG USA Foundation was created in collaboration with the German Consulate General in Los Angeles in 2016 in order to connect employers, education providers and apprentices. Their apprenticeship programs are based on the German Dual Education Model and combine theory and hands-on learning to train a globally competitive workforce. The combination of related technical instruction (RTI), high-quality on-the-job training (OJT) and competency-based exams for quality control at midpoint and end of the apprenticeship ensure that employers have a steady supply of highly skilled workers.

In order to compete in the changing technological landscape of the 21st-century, companies need employees who can solve a wide variety of problems. Training people for a career, and not just one specific job or skill is the best way to attract a new generation and fill companies’ needs for a highly skilled workforce. The approach is designed to encourage upward mobility based on recognized industry certifications, academic credentials, and big-picture thinking regarding the future of work. Being part of the “Wunderbar Together” initiative and embracing the German-American partnership, it is important that Americans and Germans can learn from each other while facing shared challenges.

Closing the Skills Gap

In February 2018, California governor Gavin Newsom addressed the goal to establish 500,000 earn-and-learn apprenticeships by 2029. In an increasingly global world, apprenticeships provide the education and training necessary to prepare young people for the jobs of the future. Newsom called for the “California Promise”, a new way of thinking about education as a lifelong pursuit in order to close the massive skills gap. In addition, former California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 235 in September 2018, creating the Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship. The committee is comprised of Labor Workforce Development Agency Secretary appointees who represent a variety of organizations and businesses including SAP, E.&J. Gallo, the United Food & Commercial Workers, Service Employees International Union, United Healthcare Workers, and Jewish Vocational Services.

Participating with the State of California Apprenticeship Council (CAC) that provides policy advice on apprenticeship matters, and issues rules and regulations on specific apprenticeship subjects, DIAG USA Foundation joined the new Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship and its sub-committees to provide guidance based on the successful German Dual Education System. Matthew Martinez and Miriam Farnbauer are appointed members of the sub-committees advising on new and innovative information technology apprenticeships as well as pre-apprenticeship programs.

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