Last week, the Senate CTE Caucus and Embassy of Switzerland hosted a briefing on Swiss-Inspired Apprenticeships in the U.S.: Recent Initiatives and Developments. The afternoon included a variety of remarks from the Swiss, United States federal government, student and administrator perspectives on the impacts of apprenticeship programs.
Swiss Ambassador Martin Dahinden began the briefing by sharing that two out of three students in Switzerland participates in an apprenticeship, and 40 percent of all businesses participate without being compensated by the federal government. Simon Marti, speaking from the Swiss Embassy, explained that the apprenticeship model is 60 percent privately funded, 10 percent by cantons (a Swiss canton is equivalent to a U.S. state) and 30 percent federally funded. Participating companies get approximately a half billion dollar return on investment just during the initial training period.
Marti outlined the three factors that have led to success for the Swiss apprenticeship model:
- The apprenticeship model is fully integrated into the education system;
- There are strong public-private partnerships; and
- Apprenticeships are comprehensive and labor market oriented.
The apprenticeship model takes on a systems approach that involved three core partners- the federal government, cantons and the private sector- that all share one common mission. The close working relationship between the three, operating under a common goal, leads to effective apprenticeship programs.
Senate CTE Caucus Co-Chairs, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined the briefing as well, and each gave remarks voicing support of expanding opportunities for high-quality apprenticeships.
The full list of speakers included:
- Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)
- Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
- H.E. Martin Dahinden, Ambassador of Switzerland to the USA
- Simon Marti, Head of the Office of Science, Technology and Higher Education at the Swiss Embassy
- Mike Gunner, General Manager at Mikron Corporation Denver
- Selena Elekovic, Apprentice at Mikron Corporation Denver
- Meaghan Sullivan, Chief Program Officer, CareerWise Colorado
Meredith Hills, Policy Associate