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TOP Info Graphic


11/02/2020, idw-online.de, "U.S.-Wahl: Schüler prognostizieren Sieg für Biden"

Die Prognosen trafen bei vorangegangenen Wahlen schon mehrfach ins Schwarze: Die sehr genauen Vorhersagen zum Wahlausgang waren teilweise besser als manches Polit-Barometer in den USA oder Deutschland.

08/23/2019, County College of Morris, New Jersey: "Working with the German American Chamber of Commerce to Enhance Student Success"

CCM President Anthony J. Iacono and Professor Ian Colquhoun, Engineering Technologies/Engineering Science, both have traveled to Germany to examine that country’s apprenticeship model. Their visits were funded through the Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP), an initiative of the Goethe Institut.

07/01/2019, Morrison County Government, New Jersey: "CCM: Awarded $4 Million to Lead Expansion of Apprenticeship Programs"

Iacono, along with other education and workforce officials from across the country, toured Germany to examine its apprenticeship programs. Funded by the Transatlantic Outreach Program, the tour focused on how the United States might make use of the German model to expand experiential leaning opportunities for students with the support of industry.

12/07/2018, EdWeek.org, "Teachers Are Ambassadors"

I act as an ambassador by bringing the outside world into the four walls of my classroom. I invite speakers, experts, and contemporary witnesses to share themselves so that my students will develop a sense of perspective and social responsibility. Students must engage with people who look different, sound different, or think differently from them so that, as adults, they will be open to interacting with the global community. 

11/02/2018, New Jersey Business Magazine: "CCM President Takes Part in Apprenticeship Information Tour in Germany"

Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, president of County College of Morris (CCM), along with 11 other education and workforce officials from across the country, recently completed a tour of Germany to examine that country’s apprenticeship programs and vocational education system...The trip was arranged and fully funded through the Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP), an initiative of the Goethe Institut. TOP’s mission is to bring North Americans and Germans together to enhance the global competencies of students, bridge the skills gap between education and workforce development, and strengthen the grassroots bonds of transatlantic partnership.

09/26/2018, Medium.com: "The value of vocational education: Lessons from the German school system"

This summer, I participated in the Transatlantic Outreach Program, a teacher study program that looks to promote education about Germany and foster intercultural dialogue. For two weeks, my group of 16 teachers toured technical schools and job-training programs across the country in order to learn more about Germany’s vocational education system.

09/24/2018, wickedlocal.com, "Brookline teacher receives fellowship to travel to Germany"

Having had the opportunity to become acquainted with Germany’s leadership on issues of environmental stewardship and sustainable design, has not only helped inform my teaching in the classroom, but will also impact my ability to become a catalyst for the kind of change that I hope to see my students working toward.

09/06/2018, The Century Foundation: "Germany’s Syrian Refugee Integration Experiment"

Germany’s world-renowned vocational training system is often touted as the engine of the country’s economic success.34 It is also a centerpiece of the country’s first national integration law, and is seen as key to bringing refugees into the German workforce.35 However, for most Syrian refugees, who have only been in the country for two or three years, time is still needed to overcome the language barrier before securing the coveted apprenticeship—one of the best ways to secure permanent employment. New policies and programs have been implemented to help smooth the transition process.

02/10/2018, Deutsche Welle, "A Germany Year in the US: Opening up the conversation"

Apart from such large-scale projects, we run a student exchange program called the German-American Partnership Program, as well as the Transatlantic Outreach Program, which allows American history and social studies teachers to travel to Germany.

01/30/2018, Fremont Tribune: "Wolfe experiences German education"

At a recent ESU #2 Board of Education meeting, Director of Special Projects Diane Wolfe gave a presentation to the board outlining her experience visiting Germany over a week in October of 2017...The trip was part of the Transatlantic Outreach Program offered by the Goethe Institut in Germany, which is a public-private partnership that promotes education about Germany, fosters intercultural dialogue, and provides the opportunity for North American social studies educators, STEM educators, and decision makers to experience the country.

12/12/2017, AdvanceCTE: CTE Leaders Explore German TVET System

The Goethe Institut brought together leaders from education, workforce development, industry, and law makers as delegates to visit Germany and learn about technical and vocational education (TVET), the international name for Career Technical Education (CTE).  Dr. Elaine Perea, CTE State Director, New Mexico and Dr. Pradeep Kotamraju, State Director, Iowa, represented their states as well as Advance CTE.  Over six days, delegates learned about German education and workforce development, with special emphasis on apprenticeships, through visits with students, educators, employers, and government officials.

08/22/2017, jsonline.com, "Wauwatosa West High School teacher to bring experiences from Germany outreach program back to her classroom"

When she visited Kaufbeuren, a town in Bavaria known for its work with refugees, she also got to see how educators work with the students to learn German and help get them plugged into a vocational program so that they can graduate and become productive members of society.

08/12/2017, chicagotribune.com, "Naperville teachers spend summer globetrotting"

"You've got to have the passion," she said. "That's when kids start to care about stuff and develop a global perspective." Students can tell when a teacher doesn't truly know about what they're teaching.

07/17/2017, edweek.org, "A Summer of Global Learning"

I participated in two study tours (one through the East-West Center’s AsiaPacificEd program at the University of Hawai’i and another through the Goethe-Institut’s Transatlantic Outreach Program), and both were life-changing experiences.

06/12/2017, schoolnewsnetwork.org, "Teacher Travels the World to Enrich Lessons Back Home"

Dove showed students pictures of Deutsche Bank in Berlin as an example of the financial district. He often uses personal experiences and even lectures he received while overseas to enhance his lesson plans.

03/30/2017, U.S. Embassy in Germany, Berlin: The Governors of Kentucky, South Dakota and Oklahoma Visit Germany

Chargé d’Affaires Kent Logsdon welcomed Governors Matt Bevin from Kentucky, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma and Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota on their visit to the U.S. Embassy in Berlin to hear from Embassy experts on German approaches to training and apprenticeships as they look to attract investment from Germany and other European countries to their states.

03/17/2017, NGA, Washington DC: NGA Hosts International Visit on Apprenticeships

WASHINGTON—The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) will host a visit to Germany and Switzerland for a small group of U.S. governors to study apprenticeships from March 18-25, 2017.The goal of the trip is for the gubernatorial delegation to learn about how Germany and Switzerland effectively leverage apprenticeships as a key workforce and economic development strategy and provide governors with both inspiration and ideas as they look to build globally competitive talent development systems in their states.

03/05/2017, handelsblatt.com, "The Goethe-Institut's Soft Power"

We have an expanded concept of culture. It’s not simply about art and music and literature. We have to define our target groups, for example in the U.S.: How can we reach those living outside of big cities who don’t know much about Germany and Europe, and who take propaganda at face value? School exchange programs, advanced training for teachers through our Transatlantic Outreach Program are some instruments we have at our disposal.

02/27/2017, Der Tagesspiegel, "Im Wettbewerb der Werte"

Wir müssen unsere Zielgruppen definieren, zum Beispiel in den USA. Wie erreichen wir Menschen, die außerhalb der großen Städte leben, die wenig wissen von Deutschland und Europa, die Propaganda für bare Münze nehmen? Schüleraustausch, Lehrerfortbildung durch das Transatlantic Outreach Program, das sind einige Instrumente.

11/13/2016, teachingtraveling.com "A Free Study Tour in Germany for Social Studies and STEM Teachers With TOP"

Another “TOP” experience was passing out German picture dictionaries to children at the Friedland transitional center/refugee camp. My 6th grade students from Burbank, IL wrote personalized messages in each book.

10/27/2016, Washingtonmonthly.com: "A Tour of the German Apprenticeship System. Seeing is believing."

Greetings from the Franconia region of Bavaria, home to Adidas, Puma, and many other world-class German manufacturers. I am here with a band of fellow American travelers, all of us guests of the Goethe Institute and here to learn about Germany’s apprenticeship system. Over the course of the next week, we will be visiting schools and businesses that train apprentices, as well as meeting with the chambers of commerce, unions, and government officials that help run the system. We’ll also be learning about efforts to leverage apprenticeship to integrate the growing population of refugees and immigrants in Germany. Along the way, I thought I would share some thoughts while they are still fresh.

10/26/2016, New America Foundation: "Apprenticeship and Immigrant Integration in Germany".

While immigration has become an increasingly controversial (and divisive) issue in German politics, the business community has been largely supportive of more open borders. The reasons are pretty straightforward: an aging population combined with a declining birth rate is generating labor shortages in key industries. Nowhere is this truer than in the manufacturing sector, which has provided the foundation for German economic power and prosperity for decades.

10/13/2016, empireadvance.ca, "Local teacher enjoys study tour"

Tracey Salamondra, teacher at Hartney School, was thrilled to be one of 100 teachers chosen from the US and Canada to travel to Germany this summer as fellows of the Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP). 

09/28/2016, theintelligencer.com, "EHS teacher pays visit to Germany"

Edwardsville High School Teacher Adam Koester was one of 100 social studies and STEM educators from the U.S. and Canada who were selected to travel to Germany this past July for a two-week, all expenses paid study-tour with the Transatlantic Outreach Program.

08/20/2016, emissourian.com, "Lessons From Germany For American Classrooms"

Washington High School social studies teacher Allison Graves has heard news reports and read articles about the refugee crisis in Europe, but this summer she learned about it from a new source — student-age refugees living in Germany and the German teachers who are helping to educate them.


The Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP) offers 2-week, all-expenses-paid travel fellowships to Germany for U.S. and Canadian social studies and STEM educators (leave your students at home). If that’s not enough, here are 10 more reasons why you should apply!

04/06/2015, chicagotribune.com, "Lincoln-Way Central teacher selected for summer program in Germany"

Lincoln-Way Central history teacher Karen Desruisseaux is among 97 American teachers selected to take part in a professional development program in Germany this summer.

10/16/2014, TheAtlantic.com: "Why Germany Is So Much Better at Training Its Workers"

I’ve just come back from Germany, where I visited some half dozen apprenticeship programs at brand-name companies like Daimler, Siemens, and Bosch, and the metaphor I came away with is a native tree—flourishing, productive, highly adapted to its local climate zone, but unlikely to take root or grow in a climate as different as the America's. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t adapt the German model. But it’s not going to be quick or easy.

09/04/2014, pineandlakes.com, "Bergem takes German excursion"

Pine River-Backus (PR-B) Schools' business and economics teacher recently took a trip to Germany and hopes to use his experience there to enrich his classes.

08/31/2012, hometownsource.com, "A global perspective"

As Orono High School students settle into one of Jeffrey Aman’s classes this year, they will receive the benefits of his recent trip to Germany.


Founded in 2002, the Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP) is a public/private partnership that provides curriculum and study tour experiences relevant to contemporary Germany for specific multiplier groups in North America, including social studies educators, STEM educators, and workforce development professionals interested in the German apprenticeship model.

The current partners of the Transatlantic Outreach Program include the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Goethe-Institut, Deutsche Bank AG, and Siemens AG. The Robert Bosch Stiftung was a partner from 2005 until 2021.

With a full-time project staff of three, the core competencies of TOP include public/private project management and the implementation of custom-designed study tours and virtual tours to satisfy the learning objectives of specific multiplier groups. Additionally, TOP is a producer of unique teaching materials and instructional guides for social studies and STEM educators. These teaching materials are not only designed using the most-up-date pedagogical standards for learning, such as the Inquiry Design Model (IDM), but also serve as best practice examples of facilitating intercultural education in North American classrooms. These teaching materials include printed instructional guides, online multimedia products, and short films. All TOP teaching materials are made relevant to K-12 classroom instruction through their alignment to national content standards, such as the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.

The TOP study tours are designed to address specific learning objectives. For example, the study tours for social studies educators focus on such topics as the legacy of the Holocaust, contemporary Holocaust education, remembrance culture, Cold War and post-Cold War history, peaceful protest movements, demographic diversity, the Eurozone, migration and integration, national identity, education policy, democracy education, media literacy, and more. The study tours for STEM educators focus on such topics as German energy policy, renewable energy sources, biodiversity, ecology, biomimicry, environmental education, sustainable living, and more. Finally, the study tours for workforce development professional focus on such topics as skills assessment, career guidance, the interconnection of federal, state, and local workforce policies, internships, apprenticeships, the role of trade unions, the role of chambers of commerce, Industry 4.0, skills evaluation and certification, and much more. Starting in 2020, TOP pioneered virtual study tours in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Additional competencies include fostering grass roots program growth, social media outreach, teacher-training professional development seminars, and alumni network engagement. TOP has built a database for its alumni network of over 1,700 former study tour participants from throughout the U.S. and Canada with representatives from each U.S. state and each major city. The TOP Network of Trainer Specialists (TNTS) was formed by selecting the best ambassador-trainers from its alumni network who are empowered by TOP to conduct professional development seminars in underrepresented areas. In addition to this trainer network, TOP seeks to engage its alumni through lecture series, events, social media, mini grants, competitions, and more. In keeping with the desire to promote TOP as a program "for North American educators by North American educators" TOP also seeks to utilize the talent of its alumni as consultants and subject matter experts. TOP is also a presenting and exhibiting organization at leading national educator conferences such as those hosted by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the Council for Economics Education (CEE), and the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA).

Approximately 50% of TOP study tour alumni teach in federally designated TITLE I schools. Since 2017, TOP has regularly convened a rotating panel of diverse program alumni representing several minority groups. Many ideas generated by this panel have helped TOP foster more inclusive policies as the program strives to improve racial equity and diversity among its study tour applicant pool, study tour participants, alumni network, and curriculum authorship.

In 2012, an external evaluation of the Transatlantic Outreach Program found “strong evidence that TOP positively impacts students’ knowledge, impressions, and interest in Germany and Germans. Compared to their peers who have not been exposed to Modern Germany lessons, TOP students in this study know consistently more about Germany and have more positive and less negative impressions of Germans. They also perceive greater similarity between Germany and the U.S. than comparison students and are more interested in learning more about Germany and Germans.”



Sustainable Development Goals Logo

At TOP, our mission as a public/private partnership, to empower educators and their students, regardless of background or communty, with intercultural- and soft-skills, and awareness of diverse career pathways, aligns with several Sustainable Development Goals.


  • 4.4: Increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills.
  • 4.7: Ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.


  • 8.6: Substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training.
  • 8.9: Devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.

TOP and UNSDG 10

  • 10.2 Empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.

TOP and UNSDG 13

  • 13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.

TOP and UNSDG 17

  • 17.16: Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships.
  • 17.17: Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships.