House lawmakers on Tuesday queried officials from a handful of countries about their lauded apprenticeship programs, covering a broad range of topics, from career preparation to the roles of the federal government and business and industry in such efforts.
The House Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee heard from education and training officials from Australia, Germany and Switzerland, who provided an overview of their national apprenticeship systems. Both Democrats and Republicans on the committee noted they were interested in providing government oversight of federally funded apprenticeships without stifling innovation among the programs.
In Switzerland — where two-thirds of youths age 16 embark on three- to four-year apprenticeships — more than $9 billion annually is invested in apprenticeships, said Simon Marti, head of SwissCore, a Swiss research and education office that works to help strengthen European knowledge institutions. Employers contribute about 60 percent of that amount, with cantons (Switzerland’s equivalent of states) covering 30 percent and the federal government 10 percent.