A German Approach to Training

Have you ever wondered what Europeans are doing right to generate strong interest in manufacturing careers? Our June Last Word contributor got a first-hand look at the German approach and has some interesting thoughts on how to apply the Germans' strategies.

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In my visits to Europe, I've noticed a different approach to education and training compared to what is typical here in the U.S. Europe seems far more open to encouraging younger generations to explore trade occupations, where the U.S. is overly obsessed with the "need" for a college education. Fortunately, I've begun to see a shift in this thinking in recent years, but we still have a long way to go.

Our Last Word column in our June issue, written by Tom Peters, director of workforce development at the Symbol Training Institute in Skokie, Illinois, takes a deeper look into what the folks in Germany are doing right in regards to training and apprenticeships. Mr. Peters travelled to three German cities as part of the Transatlantic Cluster Initiative's delegation on metalworking. This team of both U.S. and German manufacturing professionals was assembled to promote an exchange of knowledge and best practices.

Read "A Path Toward Apprenticeships" for his take on the differences between German and U.S. companies and what we can do to move toward more effective education and training opportunities to further develop interest in our industry among young people.