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Spotlight on Learning Exchanges with Germany

ApprenticeshipNH had the distinct pleasure of hosting ten German apprentices for two weeks. This occurred after several years of correspondence between the Community College System of New Hampshire and an eager professor in Germany, Dr. Sigrid Sadowsky. The students resided on the campus of NHTI – Concord’s Community College, and were hosted by various employers throughout the state including Freudenberg-NOK, the Concord Chamber of Commerce, Southern NH Medical, and Cookson Communications. Not only did the German apprentices learn more about how apprenticeship works in the state of New Hampshire, the ApprenticeshipNH team also learned the significant role apprenticeship has in Germany’s labor structure. We are pleased that this event was included in the USDOL Office of Apprenticeship’s national newsletter, informing other states that could be interested in replicating our experience. Please see the following article below.


“Apprenticeship opportunities are growing in the United States, as more employers in more sectors discover the benefits of integrated work and learning. But apprenticeship in the United States is still small compared to countries across the Atlantic. In Germany, just over half of all young people aged 18–24 are apprentices, compared to about two percent in the United States. If we look at the workforce as a whole, the proportion made up of apprentices is nearly eight times higher in Germany than in the States. So it makes sense that states working to expand apprenticeship are looking to Germany to see — what can we learn from the German experience?

Building on a collaboration launched in 2018, in April a team from Wisconsin traveled to Bonn, Koblenz, and Berlin to explore best practices in Germany for creating student pathways into skilled apprenticeships. The team identified six strategies that may enhance apprenticeship and strengthen the workforce in Wisconsin:

  • Enhance technical colleges’ access to the latest in digital technologies so they can better prepare their students to work with these technologies.
  • Promote awareness of advancement opportunities through apprenticeship.
  • Expand access to dual enrollment opportunities for high school students statewide.
  • Build understanding of apprenticeship among school guidance counselors and teachers in science, technology, engineering, and math fields.
  • Leverage apprenticeships to build on existing skill sets of skilled and experienced refugees and immigrants.
  • Research to identify possible parental attitudes and lack of understanding of the benefits of apprenticeship that may pose barriers to participation.


Also in April, leaders from the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) saw several years of communications with counterparts in Germany come to fruition: They were pleased to host ten German exchange students and two professors for a two-week visit to improve understanding of how apprenticeship works in the United States and Germany. The German exchange students stayed on the campus of NHTI – Concord’s Community College, and were placed in groups of two or three with an employer sponsor, where they enjoyed workplace tours, a variety of job shadowing activities, and the chance to experience the American workday and apprenticeships in action. Accompanied by community college student ambassadors, the exchange students also enjoyed college tours, conversations with apprenticeship partners, and the chance to explore the history and beauty of the State. One of the German professors gave a presentation on the German apprenticeship model. Karyn Yeatman, CCSNH’s SAEF grant manager, says the experience was valuable for learning about the German model, building connections, and creating a sense of community cross-culturally.”

USDOL | Employment and Training Administration (ETA) | Office of Apprenticeship newsletter “Apprenticeship Connections”

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