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Inaugural GACC Award “Trainee of the Year” Recognizes Excellence in Workforce Training
Welder & Mechanical Engineering Trainee Christina Chadwick (18) of Bauer Foundation Corp., named “Trainee of the Year”
Christina was nominated by her employer Bauer Foundation Corp, which is based in Odessa, Florida. The company is a U.S. subsidiary of BAUER Group based in Schrobenhausen, Germany, a worldwide operating foundation contractor, designer and builder of foundation equipment. Upon being announced as the winner, Christina stated, "Bauer was the only company that offered the traditional German vocational apprenticeship path. My career goals became so much more evident through the process of training here that I am now focused on pursuing mechanical engineering in my future career."
The jury for the “Trainee of the Year” award consisted of five vocational training experts from different institutions on both sides of the Atlantic: Columbia University in New York City, the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) in Bonn, Germany, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), Berlin, Germany and Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) in Charlotte, North Carolina.
With 7.9%, Germany has the lowest youth unemployment rate of any industrialized nation in the world largely due to its traditional apprenticeship model, followed by almost 60% of all German school graduates. Combating the need of STEM skilled workers in the U.S., many German subsidiaries have established vocational training programs, often in cooperation with local technical or community colleges. Examples of German companies include Siemens in North Carolina, Stihl in Virginia Beach or the big German automakers Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW with their manufacturing plants scattered throughout the Southern United States.
Katherine S. Newman, one of the jurors and Dean of the Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore: "Apart from the qualifications each individual nominee brought to the table, we also evaluated the quality and structure of the training program at each company - those are the criteria that make the German model so successful and attractive: The early introduction of trainees to the complexity of the work they are training for, the fact that they are remunerated, the duration of training, the program’s standardization, a helpful separation of work and learning spaces, the provision of a designated trainer and of course the pathway to a final certification that is transferable and widely recognized."
With the GACC Award "Trainee of the Year" Christina Chadwick wins a one week roundtrip to Berlin, the German capital, to experience a customized program of cultural and historical highlights organized by the German American Chambers and sponsored by Lufthansa and Festo.