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The Big Pond #08: German-style Apprenticeships in the US

From: Goethe-Institut
Series: The Big Pond – A US-German Listening Series
Length: 35:03

Driven by a critical lack of skilled technicians, a group of largely German-owned manufacturers in Chicago have launched a new apprenticeship program based on German education models. This idea is now spreading to a number of American companies.

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There’s a whole raft of tradespeople such as maintenance technicians, toolmakers and machinists that are in short supply in America – the US education system simply doesn’t produce them, and many of the existing experienced technicians are on the verge of retiring. So in Chicago, a handful of companies decided to turn to a German strategy to try to solve their workforce crisis: paid apprenticeships that combine on-the-job training with a curriculum of academics.

For The Big Pond, Rhoda Metcalfe looks at the labor challenges US-based manufacturers are facing, the experiences of young Americans involved in the new apprenticeships and the obstacles to growing the model – including the public stigma in the US against manufacturing jobs and corporate reluctance to make longer-term investments in their work force.

Piece Description

There’s a whole raft of tradespeople such as maintenance technicians, toolmakers and machinists that are in short supply in America – the US education system simply doesn’t produce them, and many of the existing experienced technicians are on the verge of retiring. So in Chicago, a handful of companies decided to turn to a German strategy to try to solve their workforce crisis: paid apprenticeships that combine on-the-job training with a curriculum of academics.

For The Big Pond, Rhoda Metcalfe looks at the labor challenges US-based manufacturers are facing, the experiences of young Americans involved in the new apprenticeships and the obstacles to growing the model – including the public stigma in the US against manufacturing jobs and corporate reluctance to make longer-term investments in their work force.

Related Website

http://www.goethe.de/bigpond