Could German vocational model be a standard for US workforce development?
- The Wall Street Journal reports on the success of Germany's vocational apprenticeship program, which helps workers earn about 92% of the nation's average working wage, versus 70% for American high school graduates.
- Germany's program helps to train secondary graduates in a variety of fields, including medical technology, machine operation and customer service industries, and allows training, which can start as early as 10 years old, to change or shift based upon improvements in industrial technology or demand.
- Research shows that only about 5% of American students end their education with an associate's degree, but that the earnings of those students who do fall well short of peers with bachelor's degrees.
The primary note about German vocational training is that it does not prohibit students from entering college or going on to earn higher degrees; it just provides a foundation for students to accommodate needs in affordability, change in career plans, or other social adjustments which impact educational attainment.
This is the kind of flexibility that currently isn't a part of American higher education, which in tandem with secondary schooling, has a heavy focus on liberal arts training and development. With the return of manufacturing as a major part of American industry, and the growth of technology and coding, this will soon demand for colleges to offer a broadened approach to credentialing and workforce development in addition to degree programs and soft-skills development.
- Wall Street Journal Germany offers a promising jobs model