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Growing Philadelphia’s Talent Pipeline: Lessons Learned in Germany

Learn more about Philadelphia’s Talent Development initiatives in this semi-regular blog series.

Members of the Philadelphia delegation visited Provadis School of International Management and Technology in Frankfurt, Germany.

Members of the Philadelphia delegation visited Provadis School of International Management and Technology in Frankfurt, Germany.

Last month, Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce had the opportunity to visit Frankfurt and Berlin to learn more about Germany’s premier dual-vocational training models and world-renowned apprenticeship programs.

Highlights of the trip included visits to the Provadis School of International Management and Technology, Festo Academy, the U.S. Embassy, DIHK Service GmbH and the Berlin-Adlershof Science & Technology Park.

Several reoccurring themes related to workforce development emerged from our visit, and we hope to be able to institute some of these ideas here in Philadelphia.

THE BUY IN! Three key entities buying into the process contribute greatly to the effectiveness of Germany’s dual-vocational training and apprenticeship models: the students, their parents, and the participating companies. From a young age, students are exposed to the benefits of a dual-vocational education and apprenticeship opportunities, and the parents respect the education model as a viable pathway to a sustainable career for their children. The participating companies invest their time and resources into vocational training academies and apprentices because they are confident in a return on their investment.

EACH ONE, TEACH ONE. An overwhelming majority of the vocational education teachers/instructors cultivating the skillsets of Germany’s next-gen workforce were once those same VoTech students and apprentices.

“My vocational training experience as a youth taught me skills that led to a successful career. It’s only right that I return the favor and help out the next crop of students looking to follow the path I took.”

-Markus Laube, Provadis Technology Instructor.

THIS AIN’T YOUR MOM & POP’S APPRENTICESHIP. There is a stigma that pursuing a vocational education or apprenticeship opportunity limits you to jobs in construction, blue-collar manufacturing, or other manual labor-related professions. Apprenticeships in Germany are all-encompassing, including career paths in: Office Management, Staffing, Medical Personnel, Cosmetology, Information Technology, Culinary Arts, Hospitality, etc.

Stay tuned to learn more about how the Talent Development Unit and City of Philadelphia will work towards implementing the strategies and initiatives they learned about during their trade and investment mission to Europe!

The Department of Commerce’s Talent Development Unit works with public and private partners, academic institutions, employers and workforce training agencies to provide sustainable pipelines to employment and retention while decreasing unemployment and poverty rates in Philadelphia.