The 2012 American presidential election will pivot on the health of the economic recovery, which most people view in terms of improved jobs numbers. Economic experts now predict it may take as long as 60 months for America to return to pre-2008 employment levels. CNN’s and TIME’s Fareed Zakaria describes this lengthy “jobless recovery” as part of a trend for the U.S. economy since the 1990s – as globalization and advancements in technology make it easier to do work by machines, and less expensive to produce goods overseas.
Zakaria takes viewers on a virtual tour of Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, and Dubai for solutions to what may solve the American jobs crisis. And, in the U.S., he shows people leveraging creative ideas to grow jobs in the construction, nanotech, and manufacturing sectors in Charlotte, NC, Chicago, IL, and Albany, NY.
Global Lessons: Putting America to Work debuts Sunday, September 23 at 8:00pm and 11:00pm ET & PT on CNN/U.S. and on CNN International on Sunday, October 06 at 9:00pmET.
In Charlotte, NC, Zakaria examines a pilot program by the German company Siemens for apprenticeships at a U.S. plant. Apprentices are not only paid factory workers – they also enjoy free college tuition.
“Here in the U.S., our patchwork system of job training programs is why we have 3.5 million job openings left unfilled,” Zakaria says in the documentary. And cultural perceptions of success may also inhibit wide scale applications of apprenticeships.
Nearly two-thirds of young Germans participate in the nation’s centuries-old apprentice program: companies, trade unions, vocational schools, and the government collaborate to pair new workers with job training at businesses that may eventually hire them. Paid apprenticeships combine classroom instruction with professional internships – and apprentices are matched to jobs in fields as diverse as baking to nuclear technology, and the skills are transferrable. The result is a more resilient German workforce than its industrialized peers: the youth unemployment rate in Germany is less than half that in America, and German unemployment rates decreased, and its economy grew, even during the height of the global economic downturn.