Ger­mans hop­ing to ex­pand ap­pren­tice­ship

The Con­sul to the South­east leads a tour at Dar­ling­ton.

Rome News-Tribune - - NEWS - By Doug Walker As­so­ciate Ed­i­tor

Devel­op­ment of a highly ef­fi­cient work­force was fore­most on the minds of Ger­man ex­ec­u­tives dur­ing a whirl­wind visit to Rome on Tuesday. The Rome Floyd Cham­ber hosted Ger­man Con­sul to the South­east Detlev Ruenger, Pres­i­dent of Ger­man-Amer­i­can Cham­ber of Com­merce Ste­fanie Jehlitschka, and Pres­i­dent and CEO of AGCO Corp. Martin Richen­hagen, over lunch with lo­cal gov­ern­ment and busi­ness lead­ers prior to a tour of the Dar­ling­ton School and its ro­bot­ics lab.

Ruenger, who has served in the Ger­man diplo­matic corps for many years, said the South­east is the cen­ter of Ger­man in­dus­trial in­vest­ment in the United States, with over 100,000 jobs cre­ated in the six states he serves.

Ruenger said ex­pan­sion of the Ger­man ap­pren­tice­ship model into the Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor was im­por­tant to the many Ger­man com­pa­nies look­ing to ex­pand into the U.S. “As it is in Ger­many, ob­vi­ously it is some­thing that was grown over cen­turies, so this is some­thing we can’t car­bon copy but we would like to bring in el­e­ments, we would like to meet de­mands of in­dus­try with what is lo­cally avail­able,” Ruenger said.

Jehlitschka said the Ge­or­gia Con­sor­tium for Ad­vanced Tech­ni­cal Train­ing was in­tro­duced last year, de­signed to clus­ter man­u­fac­tur­ers who have the need for a specif­i­cally skilled work­force. She said a key to the suc­cess of the pro­gram is the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of a com­pe­tent ed­u­ca­tional part­ner which would of­fer a uni­fied cur­ricu­lum.

Ruenger said the Ger­man econ­omy is do­ing quite well. “A core el­e­ment of the Ger­man econ­omy al­ways has been the car man­u­fac­turer,” Ruenger said. “The U.S. is our most im­por­tant ex­port mar­ket in the world, and we’re happy when things go well here.”

She said as the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try in the South­east has grown, the ad­di­tional of new mod­els cre­ates an op­por­tu­nity for a dif­fer­ent sup­plier base. “Ge­or­gia re­ally is in what we call the tri­an­gle of au­to­mo­tive here in the South, so sup­pli­ers are our main com­pa­nies that are look­ing into in­vest­ing here,” Jehlitschka said.

The in­ter­est in ed­u­ca­tion led Ruenger and Jehlitschka to a tour of the Dar­ling­ton School af­ter lunch where they met with Ger­man stu­dent Sophia Kalusche who has been in Rome for al­most three years. Kalusche said she has en­joyed her time at Dar­ling­ton but would prob­a­bly be go­ing home to Ger­many to go to col­lege.

Ruenger and Jehlitschka vis­ited in­struc­tor Owen Kin­ney’s Dar­ling­ton ro­bot­ics labs where they spoke to sev­eral stu­dents. Both diplo­mats were ex­tremely in­ter­ested in both use of tech­nol­ogy in the class­rooms as well as in­struc­tion re­lated in tech­no­log­i­cal fields.

Doug Walker / Rome News-Tri­bune

Ger­man Con­sul to the South­east Detlev Ruenger (left) and Ste­fanie Jehlitschka, pres­i­dent of the South­east chapter of the Ger­manAmer­i­can

Cham­ber of Com­merce, check out a robot Tuesday in Owen Kin­ney’s ro­bot­ics lab at Dar­ling­ton Up­per School.

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