On February 29th the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation and the Embassy of the United States, with support of the Austrian Embassy in Washington, invited stake holders and experts from the United States and Austria to a dual education workshop at the Amerika Haus in Vienna.
Among the participants and presenters were representatives from the U.S. and the Austrian administrations, colleges and educational institutions, research institutions, workers exchange institutions, the U.S. Embassy, the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation, and of course companies. After opening remarks from Robert Greenan, U.S. Embassy, and Wolfgang Petritsch, Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation, eight presentations outlined the landscape and challenges of dual education both in the United States and Austria.
The first part of the workshop dealt with the legal situation, the framework and statistics of dual education in the United States and Austria. It included inputs from John Ladd (U.S. Department of Labor), Alexander Hoelbl (Austrian Federal Minsitry of Science, Research and Economy), Nicolas D’Antonio (The Manufacturing Institute) and Peter Schloegl (Austrian Institute for Research on Vocational Training).
After a short break the audience had the opportunity to hear some inputs on best practice examples given by Franz-Josef Lackinger (Austrian Vocational Training Institute, BFI), Richard Zollinger & Jay Potter (Central Piedmont Community College), Bernhard Reisner (MIBA) and Ines-Maria Schweiger (International Young Workers Exchange).
All of this presentations contributed to the main aims of this workshop:
- Present & discuss the different systems of dual education/apprenticeship in the United States and Austria
- Discuss the necessity of future job profiles/skills especially with regard to industry 4.0/Internet of the things and the possible contribution of a dual education/apprenticeship system in this context
- Create first ideas for any kind of knowledge transfer in this area between the United States and Austria, e.g. exchange programs for students/apprentices based on best practice examples
- Establish contacts and networks between American and Austrian experts, stake holders and companies
Although there exist many differences between the dual education systems of the United Systems and Austria, all participants agreed on the fact that any kind of apprenticeship system, besides the education at colleges and universities, will a be a very important addition in order to close forthcoming skill gaps with regard to Industry 4.0.
Photo credit: U.S. Embassy Vienna/ Flickr