Secretary Walsh, Minister Schramböck sign memorandum of understanding to expand Registered Apprenticeship programs in the US
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and the Austrian Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs Dr. Margarete Schramböck signed a memorandum of understanding today to expand Registered Apprenticeships among Austrian companies and Austrian-invested companies in the U.S. to promote job creation in both countries. Austria invested a total of $17.18 billion in the U.S. in 2020, sustaining 33,500 jobs primarily in the areas of industrial equipment, software and IT services.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo also signed the MOU between the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education and Commerce and Austria’s Federal Ministries for Digital and Economic Affairs, Labor, Education, Science and Research.
“Registered Apprenticeships are a proven model for workers and employers that create paths to good paying, middle class jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “The partnership will help promote the establishment, growth and diversification of Registered Apprenticeship programs. Through these programs, we can increase foreign investment in the U.S. and expand opportunities for America’s workers.”
The ceremony at EGGER Wood Products in Linwood, North Carolina, the company’s first manufacturing plant in North America, highlighted the newly ratified agreement to increase employment and training opportunities in Austria and the U.S. through increased investments in Registered Apprenticeship programs.
EGGER is an Austrian firm that started a Registered Apprenticeship program in partnership with the Davidson-Davie Community College, based off experience with the Austrian apprenticeship model. EGGER’s program has 30 apprentices currently enrolled and is planning to enroll 12 additional apprentices this year alone.
“The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding reinforces the strong bilateral relationship between Austria and the United States and recognizes the added-value of Austrian-style apprenticeships in the U.S.,” said Austrian Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs Dr. Margarete Schramböck. “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 Austria’s apprenticeship model continues to serve as inspiration for other companies in the U.S.”
Specifically, the MOU will promote the exchange of ideas and best practices for expanding apprenticeship programs in both countries. The U.S. currently has similar MOUs with Germany and Switzerland to establish new apprenticeship programs, increase awareness of opportunities and create career pathways for Registered Apprentices.
“The Department of Education and our partners across the Biden-Harris administration are committed to ensuring that all Americans, especially those in historically underserved and marginalized communities, have access to high-quality career and technical education and the skills to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “This partnership will help propel our efforts to make that vision a reality, building on the historic investment in secondary and postsecondary education made through the American Rescue Plan that is already reengaging both high school and postsecondary students and connecting them back to college and career pathways.”
“The Department of Commerce deeply values our critical partnership with the Austrian government as memorialized through the signing of this memorandum,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Austrian investment in communities across the United States are creating new pathways through apprenticeships, empowering more Americans to gain skills and enter quality jobs. The memorandum provides a framework for our governments to support even more investments and opportunities for American workers and for Austrian companies to build diverse, high-skilled workforces through Registered Apprenticeships.”