Langevin Hosts Field Training on Career Training

Oct 2, 2015
Press Release

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chair of the Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, co-hosted a CTE field hearing today with The German Marshall Fund of the United States, an organization that strengthens transatlantic cooperation. They were joined by education and workforce development advocates, as well as representatives from business, from both Rhode Island and Germany, to discuss ways in which to strengthen apprenticeship programs.

The German and Swiss education models emphasize employer-educator partnerships, with two-thirds of Swiss students and 60 percent of German students finding careers through apprenticeships. Langevin convened the field hearing so that educators and employers could learn from the different approaches to apprenticeships.

“Students are better prepared when they have a range of experiences. Apprenticeships empower young people to take control of their futures and provide the type of hands-on training that ensures we educate the individual as a whole,” said Rep. Jim Langevin. “By leveraging resources and strengthening partnerships around the state, country and world, Rhode Island can increase access to these opportunities and improve outcomes for our students. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress and in Rhode Island to expand opportunities for students to participate in on-the-job training, while at the same time learning in a classroom setting,”

“GMF is delighted to support the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus in exploring how the German and Swiss dual-education models can inspire new approaches to connecting workers with training opportunities that provide pathways to high-skill jobs,” said Geraldine Gardner, director of Urban and Regional Policy at GMF.

“The Rhode Island Homebuilders Association has long been a leader in providing hands-on training and education, and we continue to look for innovative ways in which to engage young professionals interested in construction trades. It is our opinion that career and technical education, and the career and technical education schools, are the backbone and the lynchpin to a successful workforce development program,” said Bob Baldwin, past president of the Rhode Island Homebuilders Association and Chairman of the Construction Workforce Committee. “As the Rhode Island economy recovers and new development picks up, so grows the demand for highly-skilled, well-trained craftsmen. Technical training and apprenticeships are therefore essential, and I appreciate this opportunity to share ideas with educators and employers as to how we can maximize opportunities for young people in Rhode Island.”

“With lots of companies struggling to find skilled workers, company-driven apprenticeship systems using industry-defined competencies and combining on the job training/learning with theoretical training will be the best solution to close the skills gap and prepare students for jobs. These apprenticeship systems ensure professional competency standards by directly involving companies in the training/education process; reduce recruitment, training and turnover cost; enhance employer loyalty and are accessible for even for small companies,” said Mario Kratsch, Director of Skills Initiative at the German American Chamber of Commerce.

The primary focus of today’s discussion, which coincided with National Manufacturing Day, was on what employers can do to develop or expand apprenticeship programs, and what educators can do to make workforce development programs more attractive to the business community.

The full group of participants included:

Rhode Island Representatives
Bob Baldwin, RI Homebuilders
Ken Wagner, Commissioner, Rhode Island Department of Education
Bill McCourt, Executive Director, Rhode Island Manufacturers Association
Victoria Gailliard-Garrick, Director of Career and Technical Education, Davies Career-Tech High School
Tim Byrne, Business Manager, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 51
Vanessa Cooley, CTE Administrator, Rhode Island Department of Education
Maura Dunn, VP of HR & Admin, General Dynamics Electric Boat
Heather Hudson, Policy Advisor to Governor Raimondo
Dr. Sigrid Berka, International Engineering Program for Germany and China, URI
Jerry Bernardini, Chairman of the Engineering and Technology Department at CCRI
Richard Palmieri, Supervisor of Apprenticeship, Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training
Nancy Hoffman, Researcher, Jobs for the Future
Dave Chenevert, President, Swissline Precision

U.S. Representatives
David Langdon, U.S. Department of Commerce
Geraldine Gardner, Director of Urban and Regional Policy, German Marshall Fund
Erica Ngoenha, Program Officer, Congressional Affairs, German Marshall Fund

German & Swiss Representatives
Mario Kratsch, Director, Skills Initiative, German American Chamber of Commerce
Torsten Schimanski, Learning Center Manager, Festo Didactic
Thomas Dzmian, Director, Career Services, NY German American Chamber of Commerce
Chuck Paull, COO, Guill Tool & Engineering
Steven Prolux, International Union of Operating Engineers
Dave Zgonc, Senior Director of Engineering and Operations, Nordson EFD
Christina Tsafoulias, Swiss Embassy