How Swiss experience is helping the US embrace apprenticeships

“How Swiss experience is helping the US embrace apprenticeships”
Published 23 Sept 2019 |
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

Extended TV Interview with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown on Trade, Jobs, Great Lakes, more

Ohio’s Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown spent much of today (March 20, 2017) in Cleveland, for events touching, in part on infrastructure investment, and job creation.

ideastream’s Tony Ganzer spoke with Brown about a number of issues, including proposed cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, renegotiating trade deals like NAFTA, his thoughts on job and career-creation, and his thoughts on President Trump, among others.

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Listen to a radio report and find a partial transcript from WCPN: 

TV excerpt aired March 20, 2017 on WVIZ’s Ideas program. A radio excerpt aired the same day on WCPN’s All Things Considered.

BROWN: “A trade war is unacceptable, and I would hope the President doesn’t want to see a trade war. I certainly have never, my position on trade has never gone to that. But I think the whole idea of renegotiation suggests that both sides come to the table, and you renegotiate issues like the rules of origin for auto, which would matter for our auto industry, not just Ford, and GM, and Chrysler, and Honda in Ohio, but the whole supply chain. You also talk about investor-state dispute settlement, where corporations have the power to sue other countries on trade that really does ultimately undermine consumer protections, environmental rules, and all that. So those are the ones we need renegotiation. Two days after the election, literally, I called the President’s, I called the leader of his transition team on trade, and talked to him at length about my offer to help him renegotiate NAFTA, to pull out of Trans-Pacific Partnership, and to be aggressive about trade enforcement rules. That sometimes makes other countries unhappy. They enforce their rules aggressively, we should, too. That doesn’t mean trade war, it means a leveler playing field, and it means you follow the rule of law. We haven’t done that as well as we should. I’m hopeful, and I will stand with this president to do that. I’ve not seen anything come out of that yet, I hopeful it does.”

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