Swiss-U.S. Government Collaboration on Apprenticeships

Swiss Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann signs Memorandum of Understanding with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Commerce Wilbus Ross, and Secretary of Commerce Alexander Acosta at NOVA Community College in Woodbridge, VA.
Swiss Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann signs Memorandum of Understanding with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Commerce Wilbus Ross, and Secretary of Commerce Alexander Acosta at NOVA Community College in Woodbridge, VA. in 2018 © U.S. Department of Education

Exchanges with other countries allow for valuable insights into keeping educational systems up-to-date and in line with new trends and developments. Recently, the U.S. has shown increasing interest in learning about the Swiss apprenticeship model. U.S. entrepreneurs and officials have become more familiar with the Swiss system and have identified the great potential for the labor market in the combination of on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Switzerland and the U.S. are conducting an intensive dialogue on apprenticeships.

The cooperation between the two countries was formalized when Switzerland and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concerning cooperation on advancing apprenticeship, career and technical education, and vocational and professional education and training. Both countries accentuated their belief in the importance of promoting education and training as a factor in individual development and achievement, economic development, and social growth, as well as a means for strengthening the ties between the two countries. The signing ceremony at Northern Virginia Community College in Woodbridge, took place on December 3, 2018, between Swiss Federal Councilor Johann Schneider-Ammann and Secretaries Ross, DeVos, and Acosta of the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Education, and Labor.

Read the full Memorandum of Understanding

The 2018 Memorandum of Understanding follows the Joint Declaration of Intent on Vocational Education and Training that was signed in Washington, D.C., on July 9, 2015, between former Federal Councilor Schneider-Ammann and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. This signing ceremony in Washington was followed by a second ceremony in Bern on September 1, 2015, with former U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. This initial Joint Declaration of Intent provided a framework in which the participants identified and explored cooperation in the area of education and training systems, increased learning from one another, and fostered joint future initiatives and measures as a result of that cooperation and served as a foundation for the 2018 Memorandum which is currently in effect through July 2022.

Read the full Joint Declaration of Intent

Former 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.
Former 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. in 2015 © U.S. Department of Commerce