Swiss Companies in the U.S. Embrace the Apprenticeship Model

As the United States’ sixth-largest foreign direct investor, Swiss companies invested more than $301 billion in U.S. operations in 2019. These companies offer the highest salaries on average, they are the largest investors in research and development and they directly provide more than 460,000 jobs.

These Swiss companies are in need of a qualified workforce to continue to expand and create value in the U.S. Since they are very familiar with the Swiss educational system, they have brought the Swiss apprenticeship model to the United States. They usually work together with local community colleges to establish teaching curricula. Some of them have inspired other companies in their regions to adopt similar apprenticeship models. Today, there are multiple regional or even state-wide apprenticeship “clusters” inspired by the Swiss model all across the United States. In addition, many more Swiss companies have committed to starting or expanding their U.S.-based programs.

Swiss companies in the U.S. often use apprenticeships as a strategy to attract and train a skilled workforce, retaining and hiring the most suitable apprentices as regular employees. Even if a benefit is not immediately realized by the employer by the end of the apprenticeship period, it usually becomes evident after the apprenticeship is completed, as the employer already knows that the apprentice is qualified, well-trained and ready to join company’s workforce. The apprenticeship model represents an improvement on traditional hiring and training, and the employer benefits from this relationship in time and money.

Have a look at the booklet Jobs Now: Swiss-Style Vocational Education and Training to read testimonials on apprenticeships by companies, U.S. governors and CEOs.