How Swiss experience is helping the US embrace apprenticeships

“How Swiss experience is helping the US embrace apprenticeships”
Published 23 Sept 2019 | swissinfo.ch
by Tony Ganzer

“With an experienced hand, Sara Anderson leans over to reload a truck-sized machine on the manufacturing floor of SFS intec, a Swiss firm in the US state of Ohio. Just 19 years old, she’s a student-apprentice, part of a maturing effort in the United States to build a talented pipeline of workers for factories of the future. 

“It’s a benefit for us as a Swiss company to be here in the US and find a new workforce,” says Simon Schmid. He’s the general manager for the automotive division of SFS intec, which produces small but vital metal components for automotive brake systems, ABS, engines, and more in the town of Medina, southwest of Cleveland.  

Coming from Switzerland, Schmid and his company are steeped in the Alpine country’s long history of apprenticeship programmes that start students training in companies as early as 15 or 16. At that age, US students generally attend upper secondary schools based around classroom work and have fewer on-the-job training opportunities.   

But apprenticeships are getting a serious re-think by American companies, schools, and governments to change perceptions about vocational training. Two years ago, US President Donald Trump announced his intention to create more apprenticeships with an executive orderexternal link pledging $200 million (CHF193.6 million) in funding. However, Politico recently reportedexternal link that the initiative had not created any new apprenticeships. The US Department of Labor is still in the process of distributing hundreds of millions of dollars in grantsexternal link to “close the skills gap” between worker abilities and job requirements.” 

Read the whole article at swissinfo.ch

Journalists should stop subsidizing the pundit class

It seems to be its own past-time to ask John Kasich whether he’s going to run again for president, perhaps even challenging the incumbent Donald Trump.

CNN is especially interested in Kasich’s plans, and the network invited the two-term Ohio Governor to let viewers see into a crystal ball, and know if he sees a way to the White House.

“Right now, I don’t see it,” Kasich told the network, surely dashing the hopes of keen political observers wanting another narrative arc to follow.

“That doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be a path down the road,” he said, maintaining the possibility of a plot twist later.

I wasn’t surprised by Kasich saying this to CNN in August 2019, not only because I’m a journalist in Ohio and generally feel there would be more buzz before such a move.

The main reason I wasn’t surprised to read about Kasich on CNN is because Kasich is on CNN’s payroll as a Sr. Political Commentator.

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The scourge of ‘anonymous sources’

What used to be an exception in journalism seems to have become a norm: affording anonymity to sources offering some unattainable insight, intentionally-hidden fact, or, it seems, juicy gossip.

If-and-when to grant anonymity is one of the more controversial discussions in the journalism realm, and it should be.

A written, broadcast, Tweeted, Instagrammed, or whatever, record of a story or claim needs to carry credibility and provability, lest one be attacked for ‘fake news.’

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Deploying Machiavelli in the ‘War on Media’

Machiavelli at the NYT

As Niccolo Machiavelli wrote by candlelight about power and people, his bed chamber was spared endless push alerts of ultime notizie (breaking news.)

His estate outside Florence in 1520 remained unsullied by the eternal wails of pundits and sound bytes which seem to drive our modern conversations and musings.

Machiavelli had his own form of media and matter to consume to be sure, but I have to imagine The Prince may have had another chapter or two if Fox News or MSNBC followed the machinations of Renaissance politicking as thoroughly as our world now.

Even without those chapters, Machiavelli’s recognition of what it takes to find and keep power may teach us something amid heated skirmishes in the modern ‘War on Media.’

Continue reading “Deploying Machiavelli in the ‘War on Media’”

A K-pop ‘ARMY’ might show us a way forward in the ‘War on Media’ (no, really)

Journalists, at their core, are supposed to be representatives for their fellow citizens. They’re afforded a Willy Wonka-style ‘golden ticket’ to enter board rooms, factory floors, and the streets of our communities to show and help explain what the heck is going on.

The public expects journalists to use that access and special status to get the public information they need to understand our world better, and know where they might want to advocate, or protest, or investigate more.

This may seem obvious to say, so why say it? The on-going ‘War on Media’ is adding to the already crippling deficit of trust between journalists and some segments of society, and it doesn’t need to be that way.

Continue reading “A K-pop ‘ARMY’ might show us a way forward in the ‘War on Media’ (no, really)”

How two countries handle illness prevention

“How two countries handle illness prevention”
Published 18 Jan 2018 | swissinfo.ch
by Tony Ganzer and Geraldine Wong Sak Hoi

Preventing or addressing an early-stage medical condition is a big piece of the health care puzzle. But the practice is sporadic in both the US and Switzerland.

In our previous articles on American and Swiss health care, much of the focus has been on the costs, consequences, and construction of health care delivery systems in the US and Switzerland. That’s to say, we’ve mostly worried about the particulars of a patient getting treatment for conditions.

But health care is not just provided once a condition is diagnosed, or an injury needs treatment.

Preventive medicine is also a big piece of the puzzle. Health care screenings, vaccinations or education campaigns all add to a longer view of health care delivery. It’s not just about visiting a doctor for treatment; it’s also about living with healthy habits and periodically getting checked out to make sure nothing is developing.

Proponents credit preventive medicine with lowering costs and helping improve health outcomes over time. A 2006 studyexternal link concluded that focusing on things like tobacco cessation programs and daily aspirin use would have led to longer lives and $3.7 billion in US health care savings…”

Read the whole article at Swissinfo.ch

What’s being done to bring down high drug costs?

“What’s being done to bring down high drug costs?”
Published 28 Dec 2017 | swissinfo.ch
by Tony Ganzer and Geraldine Wong Sak Hoi

“…Americans, just as well as Swiss, have been asking why such high prices are the norm. Some US observers think plainly, “because there’s nothing stopping them”.

Prices in the US are determined by the market, or by negotiated deals with insurance companies. The government does not impose price controls, even for Medicare patients. The full-service healthcare system of the Veterans Administration (VA) does negotiate prices, and some states have tried to link state healthcare drug costs to those of the VA, but in both California and Ohio voters have said no, largely because the issue is complicated and unclear.

The US is also prescribing drugs more than other countries, for ailments connected to things like obesity, which preventive medicine initiatives aim to head-off. (We’ll cover preventive medicine in our next article)

What’s clear is people in both Switzerland and the US are talking about how expensive drugs are, but what’s to be done…”

Read the whole article at Swissinfo.ch