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Minnesota officials take six-day tour of Germany to study workforce training

Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Ken Peterson leads legislators and others to Stuttgart, to learn about on-the-job training and education.

A contingent of 14 Minnesota officials leaves Sunday for a six-day study tour of Germany’s work-force development programs.

Led by Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Ken Peterson, the group will go to Stuttgart to learn more about Germany’s “dual” education system, which combines practical on-the-job training and education.

The study tour was organized by the University of Minnesota’s Center for German and European Studies in cooperation with Germany’s Foreign Office and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Organizers say they will learn more about the German system, where about 60 percent of young adults enter the “dual” education system, which lasts three years and includes salaries for apprentices, with costs covered by employers and the government.

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With 1.5 million young adults in Germany’s training pipeline, the country’s youth unemployment is now 7.6%, compared with France’s 25.6 percent and Spain’s 55.9 percent, they said.

In April, the U.S. unemployment rate for those ages 16 to 24 was 16.2 percent.

Scheduled to be on the trip with Peterson are:

  • Jan Alswager, chief lobbyist, Education Minnesota
  • Ken Bartlett, associate dean, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota
  • Cynthia Bauerly, deputy commissioner, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
  • Jeff Britten, principal, Nashwauk-Keewatin High School
  • Dr. Rassoul Dastmozd, president, St. Paul College – A Community and Technical College
  • Dr. Sabine Engel, director, DAAD Center for German & European Studies, University of Minnesota
  • Twyla Flaws, vice chair, Minnesota Governor’s Workforce Development Council; and human resources manager, Clow Stamping Co.
  • State Rep. Tim Mahoney
  • State Rep. Kim Norton
  • Diane O’Connor, deputy director, Minnesota Office of Higher Education
  • Mary Rothchild, senior system director for workforce development, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
  • State Sen. David Senjem
  • Julie Sweitzer, executive director, College Readiness Consortium, University of Minnesota.