Grafenwoehr, Germany – Nine host nation school graduates were welcomed and on-boarded to the USAG Bavaria apprenticeship program, on Sept. 1.An apprenticeship in the German system allows interns to obtain on-the-job training while also attending a vocational school. This dual learning system dates back to the 19th century, and it is the most common way to get trained for a job in Germany. The Apprenticeship Program is aligned to the prescribed standards of the HN Chamber of Industry and Commerce.The garrison hired office clerk apprentices for multiple directorates, including the  Directorate of Human Resource, Directorate of Public Works and for the Family, Moral, Welfare and Recreation Department. The 405th Base Support Operations (BASOPS) maintenance employed two apprentices. In total, USAG Bavaria welcomed 11 new apprentices.“This is the highest number of new apprentices hired in the history of USAG Bavaria, and is attributable to the aging workforce and the Garrison’s corresponding succession planning efforts,” said Hans Dumbach, the apprenticeship program manager and chief of Workforce Development.Lea Fischer begins her apprenticeship with the Directorate of Human Resource. Previously, she finished an apprenticeship as a pastry chef off-post. Now, Fischer wants to take on new challenges, by advancing to an official office clerk position.“I like the feeling and the atmosphere working for the U.S. Army,” Fischer said. “I’m looking forward to support the U.S. Army mission.”The apprenticeship takes 2.5 years to complete, followed by a 2 year employment granted by the work tariff agreement. Dieter Gebhardt, the works council chairman, mentioned that more than 20 percent of the local national workforce is between the age of 60 and 65.“There is a good chance to get hired after the job guarantee ends,” Gebhardt said.“Challenges are out there,” Mr. Howard Johnston, the deputy to the commander, said in his welcome statement to the new employees. “Learn as much as you can, and then continue to grow.”