Training Workforce for the Twenty-First Century:
Transatlantic Approaches to Employment, Education,
and Training

After the protectionist rhetoric of the Trump campaign and discord between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the rest of the G20 finance ministers on free trade in March, the outlook in Europe regarding international economic cooperation with the United States has been pessimistic. Much has been made of the U.S.’ new aversion to free trade …Read More

The second meeting of the AICGS Geoeconomics Strategy Group focused on “Trade Policy: Is the Best Defense Still a Good Offense?” The new U.S. administration’s emphasis on trade defense—stepping up enforcement mechanisms to ensure that countries or companies that violate trade laws are held accountable for their actions—is an important feature of international economic engagement. …Read More

I recently visited Charlotte, North Carolina with a small group convened by the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS). The purpose of the trip was to examine how Charlotte, a city with a growing immigrant population, is helping to integrate migrants into the workforce. Charlotte’s immigrant population increased by nearly 875 percent between 1980 …Read More

When it comes to migrants and refugees, the policy differences between the U.S. and Germany are vast these days. Trump and Merkel seem polar opposites: One trying to halve refugee admissions and block entry of people from Muslim-majority countries, the other refusing caps on the right to seek asylum and repeating the importance of equal …Read More

In an April 2 interview with Fareed Zakaria on CNN’s “Global Public Square,” GE CEO Jeff Immelt made the case for looking to Germany for clues to reviving manufacturing in hard-hit areas in the U.S. Midwest. Immelt pointed to Germany’s “great training, great infrastructure…export bank [and] tax policy.” As the U.S. debates whether trade policy has …Read More

Dr. Ryan Monroe is Chief Academic Officer at Carlos Rosario School in Washington, DC.  He was a participant in AICGS’ site visits in Charlotte, NC, as part of the Institute’s work on integrating young minorities into the work force. In case you were wondering what I was doing last week… The American Institute for Contemporary German …Read More

Political tensions between Germany and the U.S. promptly resurfaced not long after the new administration took possession of the White House. Many will argue at length about who is right about what. Yet now that Chancellor Merkel has returned to Berlin from her inaugural meeting with the U.S. president, a few lessons about what the …Read More

In January, Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt) announced that the country’s population is likely growing again—a direct result of an increase in immigration since 2012.  The latest preliminary survey results indicate that approximately 82.8 million people lived in Germany at the end of 2016. This is an increase of 0.6 million compared to the …Read More

The hometown Washington Redskins may have just missed making it to the playoffs of the National Football League championships this season. But they showed once again how important a strong offense is to success, especially when the team’s defense is not performing at a world-class level. What is true for professional sports also holds for …Read More

A weekly round-up of news and happenings in German-American relations. Business and Economics German economic growth will slow in second half, ministry says (Reuters) Volkswagen Shareholders Seek $9.2 Billion Over Diesel Scandal (NYT) Merkel Wants Germany to Get Refugees Into Workforce Faster (NYT) Germany Expects Fair Result in Deutsche Bank U.S. Mortgages Case (NYT) Is …Read More

This second AICGS conference focused on the theme of workforce education will convene municipal leaders and immigration and integration experts to talk about both the challenges and commitments to integrating immigrants and refugees into the workforce. In June 2015, the U.S. Department of Commerce joined with the Departments of Education and Labor to sign an …Read More

A weekly round-up of news and happenings in German-American relations. Business and Economics Germany’s output growth slowed to a 15-month low (VOA News) Germany warned Britain against negotiating free trade deals with non-EU member states before it quits the bloc (Business Times) German Finance Minister Schäuble proposes fewer taxes, more spending in 2017 budget (DW) …Read More

Germany is in the midst of a heated discussion: Are refugees a burden or a blessing for the German labor market? Supporters of the “blessing” camp argue the country’s aging society is in urgent need of young workers to make up for millions of retiring Germans. Around one third of the 1 million migrants and …Read More

Not only has manufacturing come back to the U.S., it has also changed in the meantime, asking for new and different skill sets compared to previous times when the U.S. had a competitive edge with products “Made in America.” The “old” manufacturing used to be dark, dirty, and dangerous; the “new” manufacturing looks very different, …Read More

AICGS Senior Research Associate Parke Nicholson sits down with Robert Lerman, Institute Fellow at the Urban Institute and professor of economics at American University, to discuss his recent Policy Report for AICGS on the topic of workforce education in the United States and Germany.

Currently, many countries are experiencing a strong renewed interest in work-based training.[1] When it comes to discussions in this field, American policymakers usually identify dual apprenticeship training as the “crown jewel” of Germany’s admired skill formation system. In turn, their colleagues from Germany frequently travel to the U.S. to inform about the merits of the …Read More

AICGS’ conference on March 13, 2015 on “Transatlantic Approaches to Employment, Education, and Training” brought together a group of experts from Germany, the UK, France, and across the U.S. The day was divided into three panels and a keynote, and included moderated discussions with the audience. The conference concluded a year-long project that examined apprenticeship …Read More

In the 2013-2014 academic year, tuition fees for undergraduate students at American universities averaged a whopping $5,410 (€4,353) each semester—and this does not include housing, dining costs, or personal expenses.1 Apart from occasional criticism and debates, tuition fees have never stirred major political protests on this side of the pond. When German students were obliged …Read More

The December meeting of “Learn & Earn: A Young Leaders’ Group for the Development of the U.S. Workforce” discussed another facet of workforce development: re-integrating military veterans into the labor market. Ms. Dana Hendrickson, Director of Outreach and Advocacy at the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), gave insights into the challenges for veterans and …Read More

In October 2014, a team led by AICGS went to France, Germany, Great Britain, and Hungary to meet with companies and other stakeholders in the apprenticeship systems. The sixth meeting of the working group “Learn & Earn: A Young Leaders’ Group for the Development of the U.S. Workforce” was convened to discuss the results of …Read More

As part of the AICGS site visit tour, my colleagues and I spent our first day in Paris getting an in-depth view of the French apprenticeship system. We started off at the General Delegation for Employment and Vocational Training (DGEFP) in the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Vocational Training, and Social Dialogue for a broad overview, and …Read More

After the hustle and bustle of the capital city, our train passed through the countryside. Small family farms with goats abutted a busy railway. Our destination also lay in between the pastoral and the modern—the Hungarian city of Kecskemét is host to not only a new factory that produces the latest Mercedes cars, but also …Read More

What is the institutional structure of vocational training in Germany? What makes it unique? What challenges does this system face? The participants of the AICGS working group “Learn & Earn: A Young Leaders’ Group for the Development of the U.S. Workforce” had the chance to ask these questions to Dr. Achim Dercks, Deputy Chief Executive …Read More

The fourth meeting of “Learn & Earn: A Young Leaders’ Group for the Development of the U.S. Workforce” featured Katie Gage, Director of the DC branch of Enstitute, who emphasized the need to reinvent the apprenticeship system to keep up with a fast-paced twenty-first century job market. The United States has experienced enormous growth in …Read More

How did Germany do it? How did it steer through the economic storms of the last several years and come out stronger than before? What is the secret of a country with high labor and energy costs in maneuvering successfully in global competition? Jack Ewing takes a crack at answering those questions in his book …Read More

Take a Tour Several years ago, my brother and I visited Daimler’s largest production facility in the small town of Sindelfingen, Germany. Some of the most sophisticated cars in the world are built there. Like other modern manufacturing facilities, the Mercedes-Benz plant is more of a campus than a factory. Some 26,000 employees work in …Read More

Two of the strongest education systems and economies worldwide, the United States and Germany, have been among the key sources for models in skill formation emulated globally. Public and private investments in skill formation have increased in both countries. Yet these systems maintain contrasting emphases: general and academic education in the U.S. and specific vocational …Read More

Immediately following the conference on “Skills & Industry: A New American Model” with representatives from Alcoa, Dow, and Siemens, AICGS hosted the panelists along with the Transatlantic Dialogue participants to a dinner sponsored by Alcoa. It was an opportunity to continue the discussion of the previous event and look forward to the Dialogue the following day. Participants represented industry, government, labor unions, and other non-profit sectors from Germany and the U.S.

What kind of workforce does our country need and what career pathways are available to students in Germany and the United States? These questions, among others, were addressed at the first AICGS Transatlantic Dialogue of the States, Cities, and Communities in Washington, DC on May 23. The theme for this year’s dialogue was “How Are …Read More

The third meeting of “Learn and Earn: Young Leader’s Group for the Development of the U.S.” featured Max Grünig, Senior Fellow at the Ecologic Institute in Berlin, who focused on the need to “build the clean energy jobs of tomorrow.” He discussed with the group the current market for renewable energy jobs in Germany and around the world, obstacles in creating stability and certainty for a career in the renewable energy sector, and how this affects the ability to incentivize people to train and use these skills.

The second meeting of the DC Skills initiative group featured Zach Boren, Senior Advisor in the Office of Apprenticeships at the U.S. Department of Labor, who focused on challenges and ideas surrounding the marketing of apprenticeships to businesses and youth.

Washington DC, June 3, 2014 — The American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) announced today that it has received a $30,000 grant from Alcoa Foundation and a $70,000 grant from the Robert Bosch Foundation to study apprenticeship models. The study will identify best practices among employers, educators, and government that prepare the current and …Read More

How can the American vocational system learn from the German model to increase cooperation and economic prosperity between these two nations? That was the fundamental question that brought together the DC Skills Initiative Working Group at its first meeting on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. The group focused on setting a foundation of its purpose, as well as recognizing existing efforts to export this vocational system to supply the needs of growing corporate cooperation between Germany and the United States.

Advanced manufacturing and advanced industries more broadly – R&D-intensive sectors demanding technically skilled workers – are critical to the nation’s effort to grow more and better jobs in the wake of the Great Recession. The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 (AMP 2.0), a federally-convened collaboration of American business, academic, and labor leaders, is committed to identifying …Read More

Germany’s dual education and apprenticeship system has kept unemployment comparatively low through the financial crisis and helped businesses that invest in Germany to thrive. This can and should be adapted to fit other regions of the world with a consideration for the different education systems and industrial comparative advantages. But to do so, governments will …Read More

“I don’t want the next big job-creating discovery and research and technology to be in Germany or China or Japan. I want it to be right here in the United States of America. I want it to be right here in North Carolina.” This statement was made by President Barack Obama during a speech at …Read More

In the United States, Congress is looking for ways to develop vocational training and make it a more viable postsecondary school choice. While vocational training currently is decentralized, the federal government can take actions to create new opportunities and incentives. Although there is guaranteed free access up to twelfth grade (the end of American high …Read More

In Germany, the unemployment rate today is lower than it was at the beginning of the recession in 2008. The country has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU—around 5.2 percent, if you believe Google. What is particularly remarkable about Germany’s unemployment rate is how much the youth contribute to these favorable statistics. …Read More

Watch these clips from this panel from the AICGS Annual Symposium: Unfortunately Unqualified: The State of U.S. Jobs and Skills (4:56) German-American Cooperation on Fostering U.S. Apprenticeship Programs (3:44) Not Our Problem: Improving the German Apprenticeship Model (2:32) The United States is desperately trying to reduce its unemployment rate. The domestic energy boom and low …Read More

Improving youth unemployment has always been a priority for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration. On July 3, 2013, the Chancellor called a summit with 18 fellow European leaders and 28 labor ministers to discuss the issue, and the result was a promise of a “youth guarantee” that would pump €8 billion toward programs and funds …Read More

On the occasion of the AICGS 30th Anniversary Symposium in Berlin on June 12, 2013, Founding Director, Dr. Gerald Livingston, proposed a set of four core issues for Germany as a global leader. He argues that these issues avoid claims of hegemonic aspirations and therefore, are prime opportunities for whatever German government emerges after the September elections.

Former DAAD/AICGS Fellow Tobias Schulze-Cleven writes that the current global economic crisis presents an opportunity to rethink economic policy priorities in both the United States and Germany. In his essay “The Transatlantic Agenda for Labor Market Reform: Increasing Adaptability Through Continuing Training,” Mr. Schulze-Cleven suggests that the countries use this opportunity to reexamine their respective continuing training programs as a way to provide workforce security for both good and bad economic times, using the example provided by Denmark’s continuing training programs as a model for going forward.

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