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

Unsettled: A measured view of immigration from Ohio

Please visit the story page to hear the radio special on immigration in Ohio, and listen to authentic voices from Painesville.

Immigrants come in many forms, but the goal is often the same: more opportunity, more security, more stability.

Who these people are, and under what conditions they come, stay, or leave the United States–or wherever they are destined–are issues of immense consequence.

Despite the gravity of the issue, or maybe because of it, good journalism about immigration, immigrants, systems of exclusion, etc, is often drowned out in favor of bad journalism. Continue reading “Unsettled: A measured view of immigration from Ohio”

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

Caring for those who cannot afford health coverage

“Caring for those who cannot afford health coverage”
Published 30 Nov 2017 | swissinfo.ch
by Tony Ganzer and Geraldine Wong Sak Hoi

“…Health care in the United States has prompted aggressively partisan debates about the role of government in social services, about costs, and even about taxes. Most skirmishes don’t include extended bipartisan recognition of the people who fall through the cracks of the American patchwork system, and the threads by which some of them are barely hanging on.

Even with implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, there are still 28 million non-elderly uninsured people in the country. Although Obamacare expanded health coverage and assistance for millions of people, it doesn’t equate to universal coverage. Cost is a big reason why people remain uninsured, and for some, a lack of legal immigration status prevents getting insurance. Others without insurance faced a problem of making too much money to qualify for subsidies on the insurance exchanges, so they opt to roll the dice without insurance rather than pay full price.

A major group helped by the ACA are those too poor to have insurance through an employer plan or through the open market. Medicaid is the main public program available to help low-income or some disabled individuals (it covers 62 million people). A similar program called the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, helps cover children. Part of the ACA allowed for states to expand Medicaid coverage, opening up Medicaid to people who weren’t initially eligible. But states weren’t forced to expand the program and could structure it to their preferences, which has led to a disparate system…”

Read the full article at swissinfo.ch