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Manufacturing, Innovation, and Workforce Training: What Works in Germany and the United States for Jobs and Growth

5/16/2012 | The Aspen Institute, Washington, DC

Manufacturing, Innovation, and Workforce Training: What Works in Germany and the United States for Jobs and Growth

Representatives from government, industry, and academia explored the topic of manufacturing as an engine of growth and job creation.

Co-Sponsors:
• The Aspen Institute Program on Manufacturing and Society in the 21st Century
• The German Embassy
• The Representative of German Industry and Trade (RGIT)

United States Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Rebecca M. Blank delivered 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, addressed 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.) spoke. Bruce Stokes (Senior Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Found) moderated.

The following discussion, Staying Competitive by Spurring Innovation – The Role of Governmental Support, explored 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), were moderated by Joann Halpern (Director, German Center for Research and Innovation).

The final session, The Importance of Workforce Training for Advanced Economies, included 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) discussed what aspects might be employed in the U.S. The former President of The Manufacturing Institute, NAM, Emily S. DeRocco, moderated.

The conference was presented in cooperation with the German American Chambers of Commerce, Inc.

This was 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.

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  • Featured Speakers

    • Rebecca M. Blank

      Acting Secretary, United States Department of Commerce

    • Emily S. DeRocco (Moderator)

      CEO, E3 Engage Educate Employ; immediate past president, The Manufacturing Institute; and former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training

    • Prof. Dr. Friedrich Hubert Esser

      President, Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)

    • Dr. Patrick D. Gallagher

      Undersecretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, Director of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), United States Department of Commerce

    • Eliot Gerson

      Executive Vice President of Policy and Public Programs, International Partners, The Aspen Institute

    • Dr. F.-Hans Grandin

      President and CEO, Komet of America, Inc.

    • Dr. Joann Halpern

      Director, German Center for Research and Innovation

    • Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dietmar Harhoff, M.P.A. Ph.D.

      Professor, Business Administration, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; Director, Institute for Innovation Research, Technology Management and Entrepreneurship

    • Josef Kerscher

      President, BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC

    • Michael Lasziewicz

      Vice President and General Manager, Automation Power Control Business, Rockwell Automation, Inc.

    • Joseph M. Pietrantonio

      President, Environment, Health, Safety & Quality, and Corporate Chief Engineer, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.

    • Thomas J. Snyder

      President, Ivy Tech Community College

    • Bruce Stokes

      Senior Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Fund

    • Thomas Zielke

      President and CEO, Representative of German Industry and Trade (RGIT)