Joint Declaration of Intent on Vocational Education and Training

To enhance the cooperation between our two countries, Switzerland and the U.S. signed a Joint Declaration of Intent on Vocational Education and Training. The signing ceremony in Washington, D.C., took place on July 9, 2015, betweenFederal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, the President of the Swiss Confederation in 2016, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. A second signing ceremony followed in Bern on September 1, 2015, with U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.

Federal Councilor Schneider Ammann and Secretary of United States Secretary of Commerce
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker (front left) and Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann, the President of the Swiss Confederation in 2016, (front right) during the signing ceremony in Washington, D.C. © U.S. Department of Commerce
Federal Councilor Schneider Ammann and Secretary of United States Secretary of Commerce
Picture of The signing ceremony in Bern with U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Suzi LeVine, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann, the President of the Swiss Confederation in 2016, and Ambassador of Switzerland to the U.S. Martin Dahinden (from left to right). © Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research

Recently the U.S. has shown increasing interest in learning about the Swiss apprenticeship model. American entrepreneurs and officials have become more familiar with our system and have identified the great potential for the labor market in the idea of combining on-the-job training with classroom instruction.

Switzerland’s Vocational and Professional Education and Training System: A Model for Apprenticeships in the United States?

 Earn While You Learn: Switzerland’s Vocational Education and Training System
Earn while you learn: Switzerland’s Vocational and Professional Education and Training System © Embassy of Switzerland in the United States

Apprenticeships have a long tradition in Switzerland and are deeply rooted in Swiss society and the country’s educational system. Their success serves as an inspiration, which— along with other factors—helps to keep both youth unemployment and student debt very low in Switzerland.

Swiss companies see apprenticeships as a strategy for building a talent pool, which is why they have a strong interest in investing in the next generation of skilled workers. Some of those companies have set up apprenticeship programs at their U.S. locations, paving the way for developing and implementing apprenticeship programs inspired by the Swiss model in the United States.

Not only companies, but also federal and state government agencies, researchers, educational institutions and workforce development advocates in the U.S. have developed a great interest in the topic of apprenticeships.

If you would like more information on how Switzerland’s vocational education and training system could be a model for apprenticeships in the U.S.,

The Role of the Embassy of Switzerland

At the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, D.C., and the Swiss representations across the U.S., we encourage bilateral and international dialogue and promote awareness of Swiss vocational education and training.

Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States Martin Dahinden is delighted to see that apprenticeships have been placed on the political agenda:  “I am proud to see that Switzerland’s vocational education and training model has found such great interest in the United States. At the Embassy of Switzerland, we liaise with government officials, the private sector, education and workforce specialists and other stakeholders to foster exchange and discussions. We are committed to sharing our expertise in the area.“

To further strengthen the collaboration between the Swiss government and the U.S. government in the area of apprenticeships, a Joint Declaration of Intent on Vocational Education and Training was signed.