Southeast Tennessee schools can now prepare for the German impact — workshop to fill in the blanks
One of the best statements that came from the Volkswagen brass in recent weeks was from Frank Fischer, who is the CEO of the German automaker’s Chattanooga operations. In connection with the wall raising ceremony at Enterprise South last week he said about the timing of the investment: “It’s the best time to do it now and not to postpone it.” Demand for U.S. cars should pick up by 2010, in time for the launch of the plant, so any delay in building would mean that VW was too late to satisfy that projected increase in demand, Fischer said.
I think this could be a guideline for any preparatory work our communities plan for the coming years. Let’s do our homework now, not when it’s too late to get ready for the German impact.
That’s why The Mosaic Office (ORMS) in connection with Höferle Consulting is launching what is intended to be the first in a series of workshops titled “Introducing: The German Way”. While most of us are still unsure about the when, what and how of the influx of German workers and their families, it would be imprudent and ill-advised not to get ready for them now. We still have the time to make some changes. In two years it might be too late. And let’s not forget: First there’ll be VW, next in line is Wacker Chemie.
The initial workshop will try to fill in many of the blanks for area schools. “Introducing: The German Way – a workshop for local educators and businesses” is a one-day workshop that is designed to inform educators and entrepreneurs about the impending impact on our community by the influx of businesses, families and individuals from Germany. Keep in mind: Most of VW’s and Wacker’s German staff will move to Southeast Tennessee only for the time of their job assignment. Their children will have to integrate in our local school systems and once the move back they will have to be prepared to re-enter their schools in Germany. No easy task for any school.
Our future German friends and fellow citizens will bring with them certain different ways of doing business, different ways of leading personal lives and different perspectives on life. Many of them will initially struggle to adjust to the Southeast Tennessee way and to the American lifestyle and work ethic. This workshop will address a variety of issues by working out the many dissimilarities and some of the commonalities between the U.S. American and the German lifestyles. Participants will receive valuable information to be adopted in their professional environments.
“Introducing: The German Way” will feature several presentations on some core questions related to a successful American- German partnership in our community. The workshop will also include interactive elements. Participants will be encouraged to enter into a dialogue and share their personal experiences with cultural sensitivity and/or to articulate their most pressing concerns.
Some of the topics to be covered:
- introducing the Germans – basic differences in behavior/manners/personal & business conduct
- school systems in the USA and in Germany — an overview
- High School vs. Gymnasium/Realschule/Hauptschule
- Junior/Technical College vs. Berufsschule/Fachoberschule
- vocational training and the role of the guilds in Germany
- the role of businesses in the education and job training of the German workforce
- public schools vs. private schools — how big is the divide?
- the importance of language education in Germany
- parent involvement in US/German schools
- the German consumers – what will they look for in schools? real estate? groceries? health care? churches? state/government agencies?
Admission to the workshop is $59. Since space is limited, advanced registration is recommended. Teachers and staff members of the Cleveland and Bradley County School systems can attend at NO charge thanks to the generous support from the Safe Schools & Healthy Students initiative.
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Location: Cleveland/Bradley County Chamber of Commerce
Time: 9 a.m. – 12 noon and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
A flyer and an application form for the workshop can be found here (PDF).