How to educate Americans for jobs
How to educate Americans for jobs? Ask the Germans, employers urge
INDIANAPOLIS — Two years. That’s how long it takes William Lankin’s fast-growing electrical contracting company to teach new hires with four-year university degrees the tricks of the trade.Read the whole thing for embedded links, video and more. There are some interesting comments in the comments section.
These college grads “have learned the book stuff, but they don’t have real-world experience,” said Lankin, vice president of Industrial Electric. “They don’t know how to work with other people, or subcontractors — how to actually do business.”
Bringing them up to speed while paying them a salary is time-consuming and expensive, and even then there’s no guarantee that they’ll be good enough to keep. Which only complicates the original predicament: In spite of the still-soft job market, companies like Lankin’s can’t find enough qualified workers.
Now some hiring managers, a few policymakers, and a handful of community colleges are accepting help to solve this problem from an unexpected source: Germany
Through an initiative being quietly promoted by the German Embassy, U.S. colleges, which consider themselves part of the greatest higher-education system in the world, are importing the German model of career and technical education to keep up with a demand they can’t fill for skilled American workers.
“We said, ‘What is the best model?’” said Sue Smith, vice president for technology and applied sciences at Indiana’s Ivy Tech Community College, which has teamed up with Lankin’s company to create a program for prospective employees based on what the Germans do.
“And, quite honestly, the German model is the best model.”
It consists of a so-called dual system of education and training that combines a few days a week of classroom instruction at vocational schools with on-the-job apprenticeships that are designed to lead to full-time jobs for which graduates are ready straight out of school. The German students also receive a form of credential called a certification qualification.
This simple setup keeps German industry humming, and youth unemployment down to about 8 percent — less than half of what it is in the United States — according to the German Embassy.
By comparison, routes to similar careers in the United States are convoluted and confusing, even as the need for workers to fill them escalates, a study by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development found. [...]
This website has a seven minute video:
Skills Initiative: Enhancing German-American Cooperation on Workforce Training
The German Embassy in Washington, DC presents the Skills Initiative as one of the cornerstones of its work.
Through the Skills Initiative, the German Embassy is bringing together German and American businesses and local education/training providers with the aim of developing training programs best suited to businesses’ needs. The Embassy launched the Skills Initiative to identify and spread best practices in sustainable workforce development in the USA.
Now the Embassy, through Skills Initiative, is seeking cooperation with federal states, locally convening groups of German companies and bringing them together with training providers so that they can work on the best fit for training programs in their area. [...]
The video has some interesting comments by American students who are participating and learning career skills, about why it is such an attractive alternative to college.