Installing the German Apprenticeship System in Austin, Texas
The German apprenticeship system has attracted the attention of American policy makers because it has demonstrated the ability to produce high skills in a majority of German youth while conferring recognition and status to a wide array of occupations not requiring university training. Fully two-thirds of all young people completing secondary education in Germany enter apprenticeships in the dual system. About 90 percent of them will complete training and pass their comprehensive examinations. The ratio of youth to adult unemployment in Germany is among the lowest of any nation in the world. The proportions of German firms in offering apprenticeship training is quite impressive. Apprentices must find their own training slots, with information and counseling assistance provided through occupational information centers (Berufsinformationszentrum or Biz for short) operated by the public employment service (Arbeitsamt). Training is offered in about 375 apprenticeable occupations under standards agreed to nationally by industry. These standards outline the scope and duration of training, the duties and tasks of the occupation, and provide a curriculum outline and a common framework for the assessment of skills in examinations.