Public Release: 

Manufacturing, innovation, and workforce training

What works in Germany and the United States for jobs and growth

German Center for Research and Innovation

Germany sets an example worldwide for cutting-edge technologies, innovations, and a strong workforce, from political offices to the classroom. At the "Manufacturing, Innovation, and Workforce Training: What Works in Germany and the United States for Jobs and Growth" conference to take place this Wednesday at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC, leading experts will examine approaches through which policy can further strengthen the overall competitiveness and capacity for innovation in Germany and the U.S.

United States Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Rebecca M. Blank will deliver the keynote address for the conference, providing domestic perspectives on manufacturing and commerce.

The first panel, Manufacturing as Engine of Growth - The Industry's Perspective, will address the conditions required to maintain a vibrant industrial base, such as harmonized standards, sufficient raw material supply, affordable energy, a reduction of non-tariff barriers, and skilled labor. F. Hans Grandin (President and CEO, Komet of America Holding, Inc.), Josef Kerscher (President, BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC), and Michael Laszkiewicz (Vice President & General Manager, Automation Power Control Business, Rockwell Automation, Inc.) will speak. Bruce Stokes (Senior Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Found) will moderate.

The following discussion, Staying Competitive by Spurring Innovation - The Role of Governmental Support, will explore the different approaches taken by Germany and the U.S. to support research and development, transfer its results to the marketplace, promote entrepreneurship, and ensure a skilled workforce -- particularly in the STEM fields -- to maintain technological and production-process excellence. Speakers Patrick Gallagher (Undersecretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology) and Dietmar Harhoff (President of the German Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation, Full Professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), will be moderated by Joann Halpern (Director, German Center for Research and Innovation).

The final session, The Importance of Workforce Training for Advanced Economies, will include an address by the President of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, Friedrich Hubert Esser. American panelists Tim Welsh (Senior Vice President, National Industry Strategy Group, University of Phoenix), Joseph M. Pietrantonio (Vice President, Environment, Health, Safety & Quality, and Corporate Chief Engineer, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.), and Thomas J. Snyder (President, Ivy Tech Community College) will discuss what aspects might be employed in the U.S. The former President of The Manufacturing Institute, NAM, Emily S. DeRocco, will moderate.

The conference will take place on May 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC. It will be broadcast live online. Conference co-organizers include the Aspen Institute Program on Manufacturing and Society in the 21st Century, the German Embassy, the Representative of German Industry and Trade (RGIT), and the German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI). The conference is presented in cooperation with the German American Chambers of Commerce, Inc.

This is the second event in GCRI's manufacturing and innovation series, following the successful joint event with the Information Technology Innovation Foundation (ITIF, Washington, DC) on Germany's Innovation Model in October 2011.


GCRI provides information and support for the realization of cooperative and collaborative projects between North America and Germany. With the goal of enhancing communication on the critical challenges of the 21st century, GCRI hosts a wide range of events from lectures and exhibitions to workshops and science dinners. Opened in February 2010, GCRI was created as a cornerstone of the German government's initiative to internationalize science and research and is one of five centers worldwide.

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