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TOP Apprenticeship Tour


Since 2014, TOP has offered one-week-long apprenticeship study tours for workforce development professionals.



Since 2014, TOP has offered one-week-long apprenticeship study tours for workforce development professionals.

In 2017, TOP worked with the National Governors Association (NGA) to facilitate an apprenticeship tour to Germany and Switzerland for the governors of Kentucky, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

Since 2018, TOP has worked with the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) of the New America Foundation to facilitate apprenticeship tours for grantees. In 2019, participants visited apprentice training facilities in Germany and in the Charlotte, North Carolina region during one study tour

These tours provide participants with a comprehensive, 360-degree perspective of the world-renown German apprenticeship model. The goal of the apprenticeship tours is to provide best-practice examples as inspiration for new strategic partnerships and workforce development solutions in the United States.

The 2020 apprenticeship tour did not take place due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2021 apprenticeship tour took place virtually leading up to and during the 2021 National Apprenticeship Week.


Apprenticeship tour participants typically include the following professionals:

  • Senior management: business leaders, human resources directors, strategic partnership directors.
  • Public policy experts: state and federal education and labor agencies, NGOs.
  • Community/technical college leadership: chancellors, presidents, strategic partnership directors.
  • Regional/community experts: chambers of commerce employees, school district supervisors, journalists.


Apprenticeship tour topics and site visits typically include:

  • School visits/interaction with school pupils in the 8-10th grades.
  • Employment agencies.
  • Apprentice training facilities at small- and medium-sized companies.
  • Apprentice training facilities focusing on integration and inclusion.
  • Apprentice training facilities at DAX30 companies.
  • Partner vocational schools and universities of applied sciences.
  • Chambers of Commerce.
  • Federal Agencies such as the Federal Institute for VET (BIBB).


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.

07/18/2019, ExpandEdSchools.org: "Preparing New York City’s Young People for Careers"

On a tour of Germany's apprenticeship system, made possible in part by Deutsche Bank and hosted by the Goethe Institut, a U.S. study group visited companies such as Siemens and Bosch to see investments made by public-private partnerships in young people's successful transition from school to career.

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.

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.

09/06/2018, 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.

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.

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.

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.

10/16/2014, 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.