Governor Phil Murphy

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NJ Governor, German Business Association Ink Apprenticeship Agreement


BERLIN – The State of New Jersey and the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) entered into a workforce development partnership on Friday when Gov. Phil Murphy signed an agreement that furthers their shared commitment to apprenticeships as a feasible career pathway.

The agreement puts the partners on a path to encourage and promote apprenticeships, which will provide New Jersey’s business owners with a new pipeline of high-skilled workers, and New Jersey workers with a sustainable career path that often includes college credits. The initiative aligns with the governor’s Economic Development Plan for New Jersey, which includes a suite of new initiatives to attract, retain, and develop the state’s future workforce.

“Our Joint Declaration of Intent with DIHK will further our shared goal of providing apprenticeship opportunities, which in turn, will provide our business community access to more high-skilled workers, improving productivity and spurring economic growth,” said Governor Murphy. “Investing in workforce training is really about investing in people, our most valued resource.”

As part of his economic growth plan, Governor Murphy has identified the need for New Jersey to greatly expand its apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship and internship initiatives to provide a robust and agile workforce to meet future demands. 

Murphy finalized the agreement as a witness after it was signed by New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo in the United States and by Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag (DIHK) CEO Martin Wansleben in Berlin. DIHK is a national association of chambers of commerce, representing an estimated 3 million members. 

“We’re excited to forge a partnership that will enable us to quickly expand our own apprenticeship network based on Germany’s successful model – beyond the early advancements we’ve already made,” said Commissioner Asaro-Angelo. “In my mind, there is almost no industry sector that wouldn’t benefit from a robust apprenticeship program. This partnership will lead the way for us to expand apprenticeship to sectors that are vital to New Jersey’s economy such as transportation & logistics, health care, advanced manufacturing, clean energy and more.”

“Skilled workforce is crucial for the success of business. We are delighted to cooperate with New Jersey,” said Dr. Martin Wansleben, CEO of DIHK. “We look forward to further strengthening our relations with a focus on skills and qualification.”

Under the agreement, the partners will exchange information, share best practices, and partner with German businesses operating in New Jersey that have, or are interested in developing, apprenticeship programs.

The apprenticeship model has long been successful in New Jersey in the construction trades, but in Germany it has been a successful workforce training tool in advanced manufacturing and other in-demand industry sectors.

As the agreement notes, the participants recognize that apprenticeship programs, which typically combine educational attainment with on-the-job learning, are among the most effective tools to provide individuals with the training and technical knowledge needed to achieve financially sustainable careers.