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12:58 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Chancellor, thank you very much. Such a great honor to get to know you, to be with you. I want to thank all of the business leaders who have joined us to discuss a subject that’s very important to me -- training our workforce for the 21st century, especially with respect to manufacturing jobs.
We’re working every day to bring back jobs to our country, and thousands and thousands are already coming back. You’re seeing it, you’re reading about it in the papers every single day. We want to make sure that we have the workforce development programs we need to ensure these jobs are being filled by American workers.
Germany and the United States have incredible opportunity to deepen our partnership as we continue to develop a strong workforce in both of our countries. Both Germany and the United States are pioneering job-training programs. Here in the United States, companies have created revolutionary high-tech and online courses. And, of course, for decades, Germany has been a model for highly successful apprenticeship -- that’s a name I like, "apprentice" -- apprenticeship programs. As a result, Germany’s youth unemployment rate is much lower than many of the other countries, especially the EU countries.
I welcome collaboration between our two countries and our industry leaders. We have some of our great industry leaders here, as you know, Chancellor. Great people. We must embrace new and effective job-training approaches, including online courses, high school curriculums, and private-sector investment that prepare people for trade, manufacturing, technology, and other really well-paying jobs and careers. These kinds of options can be a positive alternative to a four-year degree. So many people go to college, four years, they don’t like it, they’re not necessarily good at it, but they’re good at other things, like fixing engines and building things. I see it all the time, and I’ve seen it -- when I went to school, I saw it. I sat next to people that weren’t necessarily good students but they could take an engine apart blindfolded.
Companies across the country have a chance to develop vocational training programs that will meet their growing needs and to help us achieve greater prosperity. The German apprenticeship model is one of the proven programs to developing a highly skilled workforce. Germany has been amazing at this, and I’m glad that the leaders of so many companies represented today have recently launched successful programs right here in the United States. And we need that because we’re training people as the jobs are pouring back in -- and they are coming back in big league.
I believe that both countries will be stronger if we continue to deepen our bilateral cooperation on vocational training as we build off the best ideas, create the greatest opportunity for growth, and improve the lives of so many workers.
I want to thank everybody in the room. I want to thank my daughter Ivanka, who’s with us today. And mostly -- and most of all, I want to thank -- Chancellor, I want to thank you very much. It’s a great honor to have you in the White House. It’s a great honor to have you in the United States. And I look forward to spending time with you.
CHANCELLOR MERKEL: (Speaks German.)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Maybe before the press leaves I’d like to ask some of the folks around -- the great leaders of industry and business to introduce themselves, say a couple of words. And then we’ll get onto a little bit more private meeting, okay?
MS. TRUMP: Thank you. And welcome, Chancellor, and to the many U.S. and German CEOs who are here today to discuss vocational education and workforce development. I applaud my father’s commitment to creating millions of jobs, and specifically making sure that all Americans have the skills required and necessary to fill the jobs both of today and of the future.
As many of us realize, ingenuity, creativity often comes from the determination of the private sector, so it’s great to have such great private sector leaders here to share their thoughts and best practices with us today. And thank you for being here.
THE PRESIDENT: Klaus.
MR. ROSENFELD: Mr. President, Madam Chancellor, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Klaus Rosenfeld. I am the CEO of Schaeffler. Schaeffler is a global automotive and industrial supplier with more than $14 billion U.S. sales, around 87,000 people globally and 75 clients.
We manufacture bearings and other high-precision components and systems for a broad variety of applications and sectors. Our products are everywhere where things turn, be it in cars, machines, airplanes, trucks, or even in washing machines. The company is family-owned, so we place great value on a culture where we think long-term and focus on quality, technology, and innovation. For us, the employee has always been critical, and will always be critical.
We have started business in 1969 in South Carolina. Since then, the Schaeffler family has invested more than a billion in the Palmetto State. We have grown through acquisitions. We’re about to finish multimillion expansions in Ohio and South Carolina.
For us, the U.S. is critical. We have started our first program here in the ‘80s -- 1980 in Wooster, Ohio -- and since then we have spent a lot of money in vocational dual training. Thank you very much, Mr. President
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you, Klaus, very much.
MR. KRÜGER: Thank you, Mr. President and Mr. Vice President. From my side, thank you for inviting us. Yeah, it’s a great pleasure for us, for me. I would like to explain why, at BMW, we call the United States of America our second home.
I’m proud to be here because we were -- nearly 25 years ago we were founding our biggest plant in the BMW
Group network in South Carolina. We created 9,000 jobs, and we know that in the area around South Carolina, I know we created an additional 4 to 5 to 6, 7 jobs -- the 9,000 people we employ at BMW in South Carolina.
We have invested heavily in the further education and training and vocational training. It was around about $200 million in the last five years, and I can commit that we will invest another $200 million into training in the next five years.
We are proud, as we are the biggest net exporter of vehicles in the United States. We have an annual net (inaudible) of $10 billion -- exported from South Carolina. Seventy percent of our production is being exported. And I’m proud to be here because we have one apprentice who’s with us from -- we have two main programs at Spartanburg, a BMW Scholar Program, which was founded in 2011 and has around about 100 people in the program, and they graduate and create -- get a great job at BMW. We are very proud on the skillset -- we need them for maintenance jobs.
And I would like to talk about as well employment of skilled veterans, which we are setting up with our dealers in the United States to have their highly qualified veterans working for BMW dealers in the future.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ve seen your plant in South Carolina. It is incredible. And congratulations, that’s really great. Thank you.
MR. KRÜGER: Thank you. May I invite you for the 25th anniversary in June? (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: I know I shouldn’t have said that. (Laughter.) You know what, if I can, I will do it.
MR.KRÜGER: Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT: I wish I could, but if I can I’ll do it. Absolutely.
MS. DAVIS: Mr. President, Madam Chancellor, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Marie Davis, and I work at Schaeffler’s Automotive and Industrial Plant in Cheraw, South Carolina. Cheraw is a small town with a population of 5,800, and is nicknamed “The Prettiest Town in Dixie.”
It is a great honor for me to be here today along with my peers -- apprentice Chad Robinson with Siemens Gas Turbine Plant of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Maria Puckett with BMW, from BMW plant Spartanburg, South Carolina -- and to be able to share my experiences with you regarding the Schaeffler apprenticeship program. BMW and Siemens also have very similar programs.
I joined the Air Force after high school and served for four years. After returning home, I applied to and was accepted into the Schaeffler apprenticeship program. This is a very unique three-year program of classroom and hands-on experience, completed in conjunction with Northeastern Technical College, which provided me with special skills for my career. As part of the program, I also received an associate’s degree in machine tool technology and a Department of Labor certificate as a certified journeyman apprentice.
After completing my apprenticeship, I worked as a CNC operator, was then promoted to (inaudible) leader, and am now planned maintenance supervisor. I am very glad that such an apprenticeship program existed in Cheraw, which allowed me to start and build my career with Schaeffler. I hope that more companies will follow BMW, Siemens, and Schaeffler and offer apprenticeship programs to develop skills that will allow for more manufacturing in the United States.
It is an incredible privilege to be invited here today. Thank you so much for listening to me.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Great job. Thank you. Very nice.
I know this one. (Laughter.)
[comments truncated for space]
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Mr. Vice President.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Thank you, Mr. President. Let me just express my appreciation, along with the
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Mike. Appreciate it. Okay, thank you folks.
1:18 P.M. EDT