News Release

Secretary Walsh, Swiss President Parmelin sign memorandum of understanding to expand Registered Apprenticeship programs in the US

Coincides with National Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 15-21

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and Switzerland’s President Guy Parmelin signed a memorandum of understanding today to expand apprenticeships among Swiss companies and Swiss-invested companies in the U.S., and promote job creation in both countries. Swiss companies actively invest in U.S. manufacturing, and directly support more than 500,000 U.S. jobs, with an average annual salary of $101,800.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves also signed the MOU between the Departments of Labor, Education and Commerce and the Swiss Confederation’s Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. 

The signing took place at the Department of Labor’s Frances Perkins Building as the nation marks the 7th annual National Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 15-21. The weeklong celebration allows labor and business leaders, educational institutions, career seekers and other partners to demonstrate support for apprenticeships in preparing a highly skilled, diverse workforce to meet the talent needs of employers and train Americans for good-paying jobs across multiple industries.

“Registered apprenticeships are a proven learn-while-you-earn model and path to good paying, middle class jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “Swiss-owned businesses have long demonstrated the value of this approach and with greater engagement with Switzerland and other partners we can increase foreign investment in the U.S. and expand opportunities for American workers.”

Specifically, the memorandum of understanding will promote the exchange of ideas and best practices for expanding apprenticeship programs in both countries. Similar memoranda have bolstered U.S. efforts to establish new apprenticeship programs, increase awareness of opportunities and create career pathways for Registered Apprentices.

“The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding reinforces the strong bilateral relationship between Switzerland and the United States and recognizes the added-value of Swiss-style apprenticeships in the U.S.,” said Switzerland’s President Guy Parmelin. “Apprenticeships benefit our economies and societies, ensure a talent pool of skilled workers, and can positively influence a company’s innovation capabilities and productivity. I am very pleased that Switzerland’s apprenticeship model continues to serve as inspiration for other companies in the U.S.”

“I’m proud that the Department of Education and our partners across the Biden administration are committed to ensuring that all Americans, especially those in historically underserved and marginalized communities, have the right skills to reemerge from the pandemic stronger than ever,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “The $122 billion American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund gives America's high school students a path to rewarding and high-paying careers through work-based learning and career and technical education, and this partnership will allow more students to benefit from these opportunities.”  

“The Department of Commerce deeply values our critical partnership with the Swiss government as memorialized through the signing of this memorandum,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. “Swiss investment and apprenticeships have contributed to communities across the country, creating new pathways for Americans to gain skills and enter quality jobs. Today’s new agreement sets the stage for increased exchanges on how to expand and diversify apprenticeships. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate our bilateral partnership or National Apprenticeship Week.”

Learn more about Registered Apprenticeships and National Apprenticeship Week.


Bureau of International Labor Affairs
November 18, 2021
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Media Contact: Christine Feroli
Media Contact: Arjun Singh
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