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See detailMade in Germany – Produced in America? How Dual Vocational Training Programs Can Help Close the Skills Gap in the United States
Powell, Justin J W UL; Fortwengel, Johann

in AICGS Issue Brief (2014), 47

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 ... [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 training, in particular occupations, in Germany. Both countries continue to learn from each other as they compete in global education and labor markets—and continue their extensive bilateral cooperation. While both are meritocratic democracies with federal political structures, the educational institutions of Germany and the United States, especially those of vocational education and training, are quite different. This challenges the direct transfer of educational models. Yet there exists great interest among firms, politicians, and educators in praxis oriented, workplace-based, occupationally-focused education and training as it has developed over decades in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. This is because it has become the backbone of robust export-driven economies and protected these societies from the economic crisis and high unemployment rates that the U.S. has recently suffered. Thus, the German model in vocational education and training, especially dual apprenticeship, has been widely discussed, most recently by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address, in which he envisioned implementing elements of the German dual model to address the skills gap and unemployment in the U.S. economy. The current rise of dual studies in Germany—and functionally-equivalent programs in the United States described here—shows that employers are increasingly willing to collaborate with higher education institutions to recruit talent, train workers, and upgrade skills. [less ▲]

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