Cooperation between Switzerland and the USA in the Area of Vocational Education and Training
Left: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker (front left) and Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, the President of the Swiss Confederation in 2016, (front right) during the signing ceremony in Washington, D.C. Credit: U.S. Department of Commerce
Right: The signing ceremony in Bern with former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Suzi LeVine, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, the President of the Swiss Confederation in 2016, and Ambassador of Switzerland to the U.S. Martin Dahinden (from left to right). Credit: Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research
Switzerland and the USA have maintained dialogue on skills formation for several years now. The signature of a Joint Declaration of Intent on Vocational Education and Training in the summer of 2015 provides a new framework for cooperation. This document shall apply for an initial period of three years and will enable development of various measures aimed at improving labor market-oriented skills development based on the Swiss model.
On 1 September 2015, Federal Councilor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann and US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez signed a Joint Declaration of Intent on Vocational Education and Training in Bern. Already in July 2015, this same document had been signed by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who is also involved in Swiss-US cooperation.
The Declaration of Intent signed by the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), the Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor establishes a framework for development of a wide range of options and means of cooperation. A work program complements the joint declaration of intent and shows concrete action steps. Possible areas of cooperation include the transition from school to work, organizational aspects of skills formation, education system permeability, recognition of qualifications, pedagogical training for vocational school teachers and workplace trainers, development of training plans and syllabuses, VET research and public-private partnerships in skills formation. In terms of implementation, this will include the following measures:
- Exchange of information, experiences and good practices
- Government-level consultations
- Delegation visits and meetings with experts
- Support for cooperation activities between VET partners, based on bottom-up initiatives.