Americans needs jobs, companies need workers. What's the problem? The Wall Street Journal reported today that American companies are shortchanged by an educational system that is dysfunctional and doesn't mesh too well with the economy:
American employers struggling to find enough qualified industrial workers are turning to Germany for a solution to plug the U.S. skills gap: vocational training.
Two million U.S. manufacturing jobs will remain vacant over the next decade due to a shortage of trained workers, according to an analysis by the Manufacturing Institute, a nonprofit advocacy group affiliated with the National Association of Manufacturers, and professional-services firm Deloitte LLP.
While the Obama administration has invested millions of dollars to promote skills-based training, it remains a tough sell in a country where four-year university degrees are seen as the more viable path to good-paying jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said two-thirds of high school graduates who enrolled in college in 2015 opted for four-year degrees.
“You always hear apprenticeship is for losers, it’s a dead-end road,” said Mario Kratsch, skills initiative director at the Illinois Consortium for Advanced Technical Training, or ICATT, a Chicago-based apprenticeship group that cooperates with the German-American Chamber of Commerce and is trying to replicate the German model in the U.S. In Germany, roughly half of high-school graduates opt for high-octane apprenticeships rather than college degrees. One draw: almost certain employment.
German apprentices spend between three and four days a week training at a company and between one and two days at a public vocational school. The company pays wages and tuition. After three years, apprentices take exams to receive nationally recognized certificates in their occupation. Many continue working full time at the company.
The Labor Department said 87% of apprentices in the U.S. are employed after completing their training programs. Workers who complete apprenticeships earn $50,000 annually on average, or higher than the median U.S. annual wage of $44,720. A 2012 study from Mathematica Policy Research found workers who complete apprenticeships make as much as $300,000 more than non-apprenticeship participants over the course of their careers..... Rest of article
What about Siemens? What about Siemens. Read on:
Siemens launched an apprenticeship program at its Charlotte factory in 2011. The company partnered with a local community college to offer vocational courses in combination with on-the-job training on the shop floor. Apprentices learn skills required in advanced manufacturing and graduate with an associate degree combining disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math.
Siemens said it recruited applicants from local high schools. The company spends around $180,000 per student to pay for tuition, books and wages during the four-year program. Ten of the 11 apprentices who completed the program still work at the company. Siemens expanded it to Fort Payne, Ala., Sacramento and Atlanta.
Operating actual apprenticeship programs instead of paying the vig on shakedowns, oops, make that paying for "mentoring" to mentoring unqualified and untrained companies.
Question for the day: Is this trend recognized by MDA and MDE and what exactly are they doing about it? It is also important to remember that Germany has a two-track educational system. Would that fly here in America?