19 U.S. Mercedes Automotive Technician Trainees Graduate

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Vance, AL, August 19, 2013 — Last Friday was a very special day for the 19 trainees of the Automotive Technician Program at Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI), in Vance, Alabama. They graduated from a training program, which is modeled after the German system, and which will be recognized as such by the German American Chambers of Commerce (AHK USA). “MBUSI’s Automotive Technician Program shows how the German-style apprenticeship programs can be one of the solutions to address the gap in skilled workforce in the U.S.,” said Martina Stellmaszek, President & CEO of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. (GACC South).

In 1993, MBUSI invested over US$300 million to build an assembly plant in Vance, AL. The total capital investment by 2015 will be US$4.4 Billion. MBUSI, which has approx. 2,800 employees, has found maintaining a highly skilled labor force to be a continuous challenge in such a technologized work environment. “Technology is changing rapidly and becoming increasingly more complex, which therefore requires more training and education. Particularly hard to find are candidates with a STEM background (science, technology, engineering, and math),” explained Stellmaszek. “As a result, more and more companies decide to train their employees “German-style” and frequently team up with technical colleges or experienced trade organizations like ours.”

This is how it works: The German Dual Vocational Training System traditionally combines classroom and business, theory and practice, learning and working. The training usually lasts about three years during which time students will apply what they learn in class in a working environment. This type of training has been recognized worldwide as a highly effective model. In Germany, it results in one of the lowest youth unemployment rates (7.9%) among any industrialized nation in the world.

”For centuries German companies have provided comprehensive vocational training to ensure the development of a skilled workforce of tomorrow and it is very inspiring to see MBUSI continue this tradition here in the U.S.,” added Stellmaszek. “Training programs like this will most certainly have a positive impact on local economies and communities.”

The German Chambers of Commerce all over the world are the official representatives of industry and trade in their respective country and are, in this capacity, responsible for supporting the efforts of companies such as MBUSI.

About GACC South

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The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States (GACC South) was founded in 1978 to promote and support bilateral trade between Germany and the U.S. The GACC South is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with a branch office in Houston, TX, and serves the 13 Southern states and territories of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Five local chapters, located in NC, SC, FL, TX, and TN, support the region.

The GACC South is a private, non-profit organization and serves as the official representative of German trade in the Southern US. The GACC South is one of the largest bi-national chambers in the United States. GACC South is part of the worldwide network of German Chambers of Commerce composed of 120 locations in 80 countries.

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