Graduates need jobs. Jobs need graduates. Might we learn something from how Germany brings the two together?
To explore the possibilities, area and international leaders representing government, business and academia met in April at USI’s Griffin Center. The event was part of a five-city tour titled “Wunderbar Together: The Year of German-American Friendship,” discussing Germany’s leading role in university-industry collaboration, dual-study programs, apprenticeships and educational concepts of applied teaching and research.
“Our purpose was to share how the German model of dual education combines practical training with curriculum to prepare students for the job market,” says Dr. Daria Sevastianova, associate professor of economics, center for economics education director, and study abroad coordinator. “We looked at how we can increase engagement with the business community to better prepare students and provide better job and internship possibilities.”
Jonathan Weinzapfel, chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College; Greg Wathen, president and CEO, Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana; Dr. Kay Hofmann, professor of management, Hochschule Osnabrueck, Germany; Patrizia Nobbe, director, Universities of Applied Sciences Consortium-7 in New York; Dr. Daria Sevastianova, associate professor of economics and director, Center for Economic Education, USI; Marco Graf, CEO, Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Osnabrück, Germany; Jeff Bennett, executive vice president, Human Resources, Berry Global; Alicia Frederick, student, USI, and alumna, International Summer University; Dr. Sudesh Mujumdar, professor of economics and chair, Economics and Marketing, USI; Lloyd Winnecke, mayor of Evansville.
The audience included students and educators from the University’s Colleges and Career Services office; representatives from University of Evansville; and a delegation from Evansville’s sister city, Osnabrück. Among notable attendees were Lloyd Winnecke, mayor of Evansville; Jonathan Weinzapfel, former mayor of Evansville and chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College; and Dr. Mohammed Khayum, provost, USI.
“We filled the Griffin Center for a very productive discussion panel, followed by a Q and A from the audience, and a networking reception for panelists, students and others from the audience,” says Sevastianova, who planned the event and recruited panelists and audience members.
USI was one of five U.S. institutions selected to participate in the discussions of collaboration. The University continues to develop partnerships with the business community to provide internship opportunities in the Osnabrück area. Such internships are intended primarily for alumni of USI’s International Summer University; however, students interested in international careers are eligible too.