Germany exports its belief in an intangible: the workers

I’ve posted a number of pieces in the past about the German Mittelstand companies. Specifically, I have noted how German companies have built their competitive edge on essentially selling their know-how. Now comes a story in the Wall Street Journal on how something else Germany is doing with their know-how: “Germany’s New Export: Jobs Training”.
The story describes how German companies in the U.S. are setting up German-like apprenticeships and training programs. In this case, however, it is not the Mittelstand companies, but the larger German firms like Siemens, VW and Bosch. Once the programs are up and running successfully, local U.S. companies are joining in.
This sounds like a great program — something that the U.S. labor force needs. My one question is this: why did it take German transplants to start this? This is an indication of two things: the poor state of job training in the U.S. and the lack of commitment by U.S. companies to their workforce. Apparently, in the U.S., we mouth the words, “our workforce is our greatest asset”; the Germans really believe it. And act on it even when others don’t.


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