Joint Declaration of Intent on Vocational Education and Training
To enhance the cooperation between our two countries, Switzerland and the U.S. signed a Joint Declaration of Intent on Vocational Education and Training. The signing ceremony in Washington, D.C., took place on July 9, 2015, betweenFederal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, the President of the Swiss Confederation in 2016, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.
A second signing ceremony followed in Bern on September 1, 2015, with U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.
Picture of The signing ceremony in Bern with U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Suzi LeVine, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann, the President of the Swiss Confederation in 2016, and Ambassador of Switzerland to the U.S. Martin Dahinden (from left to right). © Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research
Recently the U.S. has shown increasing interest in learning about the Swiss apprenticeship model. American entrepreneurs and officials have become more familiar with our system and have identified the great potential for the labor market in the idea of combining on-the-job training with classroom instruction.
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. © U.S. Department of Commerce
Switzerland’s Vocational and Professional Education and Training System: A Model for Apprenticeships in the United States?
Earn while you learn: Switzerland’s Vocational and Professional Education and Training System © Embassy of Switzerland in the United States
Apprenticeships have a long tradition in Switzerland and are deeply rooted in Swiss society and the country’s educational system. Their success serves as an inspiration, which— along with other factors—helps to keep both youth unemployment and student debt very low in Switzerland.
Swiss companies see apprenticeships as a strategy for building a talent pool, which is why they have a strong interest in investing in the next generation of skilled workers. Some of those companies have set up apprenticeship programs at their U.S. locations, paving the way for developing and implementing apprenticeship programs inspired by the Swiss model in the United States.
Not only companies, but also federal and state government agencies, researchers, educational institutions and workforce development advocates in the U.S. have developed a great interest in the topic of apprenticeships.
If you would like more information on how Switzerland’s vocational education and training system could be a model for apprenticeships in the U.S.,
The Role of the Embassy of Switzerland
At the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, D.C., and the Swiss representations across the U.S., we encourage bilateral and international dialogue and promote awareness of Swiss vocational education and training.
Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States Martin Dahinden is delighted to see that apprenticeships have been placed on the political agenda: “I am proud to see that Switzerland’s vocational education and training model has found such great interest in the United States. At the Embassy of Switzerland, we liaise with government officials, the private sector, education and workforce specialists and other stakeholders to foster exchange and discussions. We are committed to sharing our expertise in the area.“
To further strengthen the collaboration between the Swiss government and the U.S. government in the area of apprenticeships, a Joint Declaration of Intent on Vocational Education and Training was signed.
Joint Declaration of Intent on Vocational Education and Training full document (PDF, Pages 2, 19.0 kB)
JOINT DECLARATION OF INTENT
on the Cooperation of Vocational and Professional Education and Training, Career and Technical Education and Apprenticeships
Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research
of the Swiss Confederation, of the one part, and
the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Labor,
of the other part
The Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research of the Swiss Confederation, of the one part, and the Departments of Commerce, Education and Labor of the United States of America, of the other part (collectively referred to herein as “the Participants”) share a common 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 Participants also acknowledge the significance of supporting education and training programs built in partnership with employers—particularly career and technical education, vocational and professional education and training, and apprenticeships (collectively referred to herein as Education and Training Systems: See Appendix for definitions) with the aim of providing businesses with access to more highly-skilled workers and helping individuals fulfill their potential in achieving superior theoretical and technical skills, thereby promoting productivity and economic growth, improving compensation for workers, and creating greater pathways to quality careers.
This Joint Declaration of Intent provides a framework in which the Participants may identify and explore cooperation in the area of Education and Training Systems, increase learning from one another, and fosters joint future initiatives and measures as a result of this cooperation.
The Participants intend that, in order to pursue these mutual objectives, the following activities may be conducted, on mutually approved topics at mutually approved times and subject to available resources, during the term of this Joint Declaration of Intent:
1. Cooperation in Education and Training Systems’ approaches, jointly determined by the Participants, which may include one or more of the following focus areas (in no particular order):
Industry- and/or Market-driven work-based training;
Collaboration with the business sector operating in each country to promote the
value and benefits that Education and Training Systems can bring to
companies and the workforce; and
Exchange of information, experience and good practices including, but not
limited to, the following:
o Transition from school and training to careers and the labor market;
o Organization of Education and Training Systems;
o Opportunities for Education and Training Systems to provide pathways to
higher education, careers and lifelong learning;
o Cross-employer recognition of competencies and professional credentials
and other pertinent industry and education credentials;
o Education and training of teachers and trainers;
o Models of curricula for education and training programs;
o Research about Education and Training Systems;
o Involvement and role of public and private stakeholders (e.g., business,
education providers, social partners) in Education and Training Systems;
o Expansion and/or adoption of Education and Training Systems into new
industries and/or occupations.
2. Methods of cooperation the Participants intend to utilize (as appropriate and feasible) in the areas identified in Part 1 may include, but are not limited to:
Exchange of information, experience and good practices;
Consultations at the governmental level;
Fact-finding visits and expert meetings; and
Fostering and encouraging direct contacts, partnerships and cooperation
activities between businesses, organizations, institutions and other stakeholders in the field of Education and Training Systems – taking due consideration of the autonomy of these stakeholders.
3. Other methods, activities, and topics of cooperation may be decided by the Participants during the term of this Joint Declaration of Intent.
4. In accordance with this Joint Declaration of Intent, the methods, activities, and topics of cooperation may be further devised by the Participants in a periodically revised work plan. Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research and the United States Departments of Commerce, Education, and Labor intend to jointly develop such a work plan.
This Joint Declaration of Intent is intended to continue for a period of three years from the date the Participants sign it, and may be modified jointly by the Participants or discontinued by any of the Participants at any time during that period. To discontinue this Joint Declaration of intent, the intending Participant should endeavor to provide notice of its intent to discontinue, in writing, 30 days in advance to the other Participants. Any activity carried out under this Joint Declaration of Intent is to be in accordance with the respective, applicable national laws and regulations and within the framework of the respective national policies and procedures of each Participant. This Joint Declaration of Intent does not itself obligate or authorize the expenditure of any funds by any Participant. Nothing in this Joint Declaration of Intent obligates the Participants to enter into any contract or other obligations.