Twyla Flaws, Personnel Manager at Clow Stamping Company, just returned from a study tour to Stuttgart. Delegation members spent five days with business executives, Chamber of Industry and Commerce officials, labor leaders, state government officers and experts in education to understand what goes into creating the highly skilled workforce that has turned Baden-Wuerttemberg into a perennial economic powerhouse. The German state is home to Mercedes Benz and Porsche and a huge network of suppliers in manufacturing. It has no natural resources. Their key resource is their people. Baden-Wuerttemberg leads the European Union Innovation index capturing 4.3% of the world’s total engineering market and outperforming entire nations such as Great Britain (3.1%) or France (4.0%). Unemployment is at 4.0% in Baden-Wuerttemberg as opposed to Germany’s average of 5.9%. Youth unemployment also is dramatically lower.
Much of what the delegation saw connects to Minnesota. Twyla serves as Vice Chair of the Governor’s Workforce Development Counsel and attended the Stuttgart study group as a representative for business and the GWDC. Ongoing dialogue will include business, education and MN government as we determine how and where this German model might be implemented in Minnesota.