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WASHINGTON—The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) will host a visit to Germany and Switzerland for a small group of U.S. governors to study apprenticeships from March 18-25, 2017.

The goal of the trip is for the gubernatorial delegation to learn about how Germany and Switzerland effectively leverage apprenticeships as a key workforce and economic development strategy and provide governors with both inspiration and ideas as they look to build globally competitive talent development systems in their states. Jobs and economic development are critically important to states, and the development of apprenticeship programs is an important way of ensuring better jobs for citizens.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard will each travel with a small team from their state, including a business leader and three state agency leaders or governor’s staff members. The trip is being paid for and funded by the Siemens Foundation and JPMorgan Chase.

“As governor, I created the Oklahoma Works initiative in my state, after helping to shape the America Works initiative as NGA chair,” said Gov. Fallin. “We need to ensure our citizens have the education and skills needed for rewarding careers, and businesses have the talented workforce required. Preparing our workforce for the 21st century through programs such as apprenticeships helps secure the economic future of all Americans, which is why this trip is such an important opportunity to learn.”

“In order to address workforce issues, states need a sustainable pipeline of workers with the right skills. Workforce programs such as apprenticeships can help provide individuals with those high-demand skills,” said Gov. Daugaard. “This trip will be highly educational as we look to implement some of these ideas back in South Dakota.”

“The key building blocks of a robust economy and job growth are education and workforce development,” said Gov. Bevin. “Apprenticeships are a powerful tool for training and developing workers for the advanced manufacturing jobs of today. Kentucky is on track to become the engineering and manufacturing center of excellence in America. To fulfill this vision, we must study existing best practices from around the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to do exactly that on this trip with NGA.”

Confirmed activities of the study visit include:

  • Meetings with policymakers and business representatives at the U.S. embassies in Bern and Berlin;
  • Meetings with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation of Switzerland and the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training in Bern;
  • Meeting with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany in Berlin;
  • Site visits to important employers such as Swisscom, ABB and Siemens; and
  • School site visits focusing on health care, advanced manufacturing, rail industry and technical informatics.

U.S. governors have brought workforce development and work-based learning to the forefront of the federal agenda with proposals on apprenticeship and collaboration with Congress. In January, the NGA Center brought together recipients of the American Apprenticeship Initiative grants in Washington, D.C., to expand participation in registered apprenticeship.
The study visit is made possible with the partnership of Presence Switzerland, Goethe-Institut, SERI, SFIVET, the Swiss Embassy in DC, the German Embassy in DC, the U.S. Embassy in Bern and the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.