By 2030, an estimated 2.4 million jobs in advanced manufacturing will need to be filled in the United States. Businesses, as well as regional and state leaders, gathered in Atlanta for the International Skills Conference, hosted by the German American Chambers of Commerce, to discuss solutions to this challenge.

While business leaders may be interested in adapting the successful German Dual Education model of apprenticeships to the U.S. workforce, it is both costly and complex for companies to run their own independent programs. But companies with a shared interest in developing talent for in-demand jobs can pool resources to leverage a multi-company consortium approach, like the one the ICATT Apprenticeship Program uses.

Dr. Johann Fortwengel, a senior lecturer in International Management, King’s Business School, King’s College London, spoke at the conference about how organizations can collaborate to offer apprenticeships within a network. He shared his research on the advantages and disadvantages of a collaborative model and how it can be managed efficiently.


  • It helps attract applicants in a country where apprenticeships aren’t commonplace
  • It can help attract investment in an area because local governments are interested in getting involved
  • It can be used to up-skill current employees
  • It can be effective in targeting specific groups like veterans
  • It allows companies to draw on each other’s areas of expertise to train staff


  • It can result in organizations being less committed because the program isn’t designed for their specific needs
  • It can cause tension if companies are competing for the same pool of talent

These disadvantages can easily be avoided if the apprenticeship program is thoughtfully designed and managed, particularly by a third party like ICATT. With ICATT’s consortium approach, network companies benefit from combined resources, training support, and community involvement.

One company doesn’t have to shoulder the burden of recruitment, development, and management alone. The investment and commitment are distributed evenly among all of the network companies. And due to economies of scale, ICATT can fund marketing campaigns to reach new applicants and provide robust resources, such as professional exams and training materials, that individual companies wouldn’t have the budget for on their own.

Learn more about the benefits of joining the ICATT Apprenticeship Program as well as affiliated MAT2 and GA CATT Apprenticeship Programs.