National Press Club

U.S. to Adopt Swiss Model for Apprenticeships that Actually Work

U.S. to Adopt Swiss Model for Apprenticeships that Actually Work

June 25, 2015 10:00 AM

Location: Bloomberg Room

U.S. to Adopt Swiss Model for Apprenticeships That Actually Work

U.S. Labor Department’s Eric Seleznow, Swiss Ambassador Martin Dahinden,
Alternative Education Expert Dr. Nancy Hoffman
to discuss a better path to workforce education and employment

Washington, DC – The cycle of amassing student debt and trying to find a job after graduating is all too familiar to students. Those who can’t afford college end up trying to get an associate’s degree that hopefully includes some job training, then scramble to find a job while dealing with the burden of a huge student loan. The result? A workforce lagging behind in understanding and in the latest technological skills, and unemployed graduates struggling to make ends meet.
What if there was a true alternative to college?

Now the U.S. is working to adopt a model to fix this problem, using a solution coming from the Swiss Apprenticeship System offering an alternative to college. The Swiss vocational education model pays students as they learn. It has been demonstrated to produce highly skilled, highly regarded, ready-to-work new employees in Switzerland, and reduce youth unemployment to the lowest level of all developed countries.

On July 9, Switzerland and the U.S. will sign a Joint Declaration of Intent regarding the collaboration, exchange of policy information and best practices in vocational education and training.

The Swiss system prepares a wide cross-section of students for an expansive range of occupations, including information technology, advanced manufacturing and health care, in addition to traditional trades and crafts. Two thirds of students age 16 choose the path of an apprenticeship to start their career. After graduating, they can obtain higher degrees thanks to the high permeability of the Swiss education landscape.

The White House, along with members of the Congressional bipartisan Career and Technical Education Caucus and education research institutions, were made aware of this vocational education model as reported to them in September last year by Dr. Jill Biden after her first-hand look at how the program works in Switzerland.

Presenting details about the success of this approach to vocational learning is Swiss Ambassador Martin Dahinden, a former director general of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and a strong advocate for the apprenticeship model (his son is doing an apprenticeship).

Joining Ambassador Dahinden will be Eric M. Seleznow, deputy assistant secretary of the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor, who will discuss the collaboration with the Swiss on the model.

Also on the panel will be Nancy Hoffman, vice president and senior advisor for Jobs for the Future, a national non-profit focused on improving educational and workforce outcomes for low-income young people and adults. Hoffman is co-author of the report “Gold Standard: The Swiss Vocational Education and Training System,” published by the National Center on Education and the Economy.

This NPC Newsmakers news conference is scheduled for Thursday, June 25 at 10 a.m. in the club’s Bloomberg Room, on the 13th floor of the National Press Building at 529 14th Street NW, Washington DC, 20045.

Like all Newsmakers events, this news conference is open to credentialed media and NPC members free of charge. Please RSVP to the event host.

David Hodes, Newsmaker event host

For More Information On This Event, Contact:

David Hodes