SOURCE: Volkswagen Group of America

Volkswagen Group of America

November 12, 2013 15:00 ET

Volkswagen Apprenticeship Program Presented at AICGS in NYC

German Model Flourishing in Volkswagen's Chattanooga Plant

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Nov 12, 2013) - The US skilled labor gap continues to grow, but a Volkswagen executive showcased the German dual system that has been transplanted to the automaker's Chattanooga, Tennessee training academy and touted the first Americans to ever earn certification from the German Chambers of Commerce.

The program was featured at a panel on job training and technical education at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) symposium in New York City today by Sebastian Patta, Vice President, Human Resources for Volkswagen Chattanooga.

A dual education system combines vocational classroom education and paid on-the-job training in one course. The focus of the Automation Mechatronics Program (AMP) is to develop multi-skilled craftsmen who are responsible for keeping the Volkswagen plant operational. Students receive hands-on-training in mechanical systems, electricity, electronics, machining, welding and automated systems among other disciplines.

"Workforce development is vital at Volkswagen, in Germany and at all of our global facilities," said Sebastian Patta, Vice President of Human Resources. "We are proud that our students were the first Americans to be certified by the German Chambers of Commerce in Mechatronics and feel that programs like these are vital to our success today and in the future."

The AMP is a three-year program that Volkswagen Chattanooga partners with Chattanooga State Community College to produce in the cutting edge 163,000 sq.ft Volkswagen Academy. Students are selected through a competitive admissions process and twenty-four students are admitted to the AMP each year (12 in the summer and 12 in the fall).

These types of programs have a long history in Europe, and are seen as effective education models to transfer knowledge and skills to the next generation of practitioners in all industries.

In these programs, the principle is learning by doing. The participants split their time between classroom-simulation laboratories training and working on the production floor. This mix of the theoretical and the practical is ideal for fully transferring knowledge and experience and allows the company to ensure that its standards are maintained over time. 

About Volkswagen Chattanooga

Volkswagen has invested $1 billion in the local economy for the Chattanooga plant and has created more than 5,000 jobs in the region. According to independent studies, the Volkswagen plant is expected to generate $12 billion in income growth and an additional 9,500 jobs related to its investment. The Chattanooga manufacturing facility builds the all-new Passat Sedan, specifically designed for the North American market and winner of the Motor Trend magazine 2012 Car of the Year award. In 2012, it produced more than 152,400 Volkswagen Passats. Volkswagen Chattanooga is the first and still only car factory worldwide with a LEED Platinum certification. It is also certified according to ISO 14001 for its environmental management system and according to ISO 50001 for its energy management system.

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