A Talent Pipeline


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Does the U.S. have a system for helping teenagers learn to work? You know the answer, but the problem goes beyond the manufacturing industry. Take a look at what the Swiss are doing.

According to Nancy Hoffman, vice president and senior advisor at Jobs for the Future--a national non-profit located in Boston--in Switzerland, small and large companies, state-of-the-art factories, insurance agencies, banks, hospitals, and retail stores host apprentices who greet customers, work on complex machines, carry out basic medical procedures, and even advise investors. They basically do everything an entry level employee would do, but under the wings of credentialed teachers within the company.

It is reported that 70 percent of teenagers in Switzerland spend their week moving between a workplace, a sector organization and school. They’re paid a monthly starting wage of around $800, rising to around $1,000 by the time they are in their third year. The work they do returns the cost of training and a bit more to their employer, according to the studies of Stefan Wolter, Managing Director of the Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education and a Professor of Economics at the University of Bern. In return, the Swiss have a “talent pipeline of young professionals.”

Check out the specifics of the program here.

Interesting system, maybe something we should look into doing.