MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced an international partnership with a German delegation of representatives from the Academy of Labor and the German Department of Education. The partnership will establish a Social Vocational Training Model for apprentices in Wisconsin and Germany.

“This international partnership in apprenticeship is the first of its kind,” DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek said. “We are incredibly excited to work with the German delegation to see how we can make Wisconsin’s apprenticeship program even more robust, which will only benefit Wisconsinites as participants learn new skills and enter into new occupations.”

DWD, in partnership with the German delegation, Milwaukee Area Technical College, employers, and industry organizations, including International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers and Wisconsin Pipe Trade Association, will form a 12-month training model project. The project builds on a prior visit by DWD and a Wisconsin delegation to Germany in early February 2020, where participants learned more about the German apprenticeship model and how it has remained successful for so long.

The announcement was made during a meeting at the Harley-Davidson facility in Menomonee Falls. Harley-Davidson, a project partner, has participated in Wisconsin apprenticeship since 1988, training more than 140 registered apprentices and 25 youth apprentices since 2014.

The proposed initiative will establish a social partnership apprenticeship committee that will:

  • Focus on registered apprenticeship training in mechanics;
  • Provide outreach to companies for participation;
  • Conduct US/German workshops to identify best practices; and
  • Develop assessments for vocational training participants.

“During our visit to Germany, we found there are many similarities between our two Apprenticeship Systems, but also many differences” said Terry Hayden, WI Pipe Trades president and co-chair of Wisconsin’s Apprenticeship Advisory Council. “I came away from that experience knowing that there is much we could learn through collaborating with one another to further enhance our apprenticeship and workforce training systems.”

Wisconsin has a strong apprenticeship program history, which was developed in 1911. It was the first program in the nation and was modeled after apprenticeship training methods in Germany, where apprenticeship programs were first established.

Today, Wisconsin has more than 14,000 registered apprentices training under nearly 3,000 employers.

Learn more about Wisconsin Apprenticeship

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