USAG Bavaria welcomes newest Host Nation Apprentices

By Natalie SimmelSeptember 8, 2022

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – United States Army Garrison Bavaria’s three newest German apprentices  started their work journey, Sept. 1.

Garrison Commander, Col. Kevin Poole and Command Sgt. Maj. Sebastian Camacho welcomed them to the Army community during their initial onboarding session.

The Host Nation Apprenticeship Program was first started in 1998 in the Maintenance Activity Vilseck. Since then over 100 apprentices have been trained throughout the USAG Bavaria Community.

With the addition of the newest apprentices, there are currently 13 in the program, the highest number in the history of USAG Bavaria.

“I am excited to add three young apprentices to our team this year as this gives our Garrison the possibility to train our own professionals from the start,” said Sebastian Fries, Workforce Development Specialist and apprentices’ instructor at the Directorate of Human Resources.

In a total of two and a half years the trainees will learn to work in their designated fields of work and become fully-functional and integrated parts of the garrison community.

“We are the Army´s home. We provide a home for the Army. We provide training for all army forces in Europe, as well as multinational forces,” Poole explained. “And you are helping us to do that, you are part of our mission, and that´s pretty important.”

At the garrison all employees are treated and respected equally.

“It doesn’t matter what office you work at, what department you work, you are all an employee and member of the garrison,” said Camacho. “You all have the same status, we all play a big role in supporting our soldiers and their families.”

While providing stable employment opportunities for Host Nation employees, the apprenticeship program can also positively affect Host Nation relations.

"The apprenticeship program is a great initiative put in place by the garrison because it gives us the opportunity to reach out to people and connect them to the military community, while creating a long-term job here as a reliable employer,” said Hans Pappenberger, program analyst with DPW, who has been responsible for apprentices since 2007.

The program provides an innovative way to supplement, rejuvenate and help mitigate USAG Bavaria’s aging workforce on the German side. So far 77% of the apprentices continued their employment with the garrison after their vocational training.

"The positive approaches are, fostering the relationship between the German and American populations and replacing the now aging workforce—it's an important step to introduce youth to the workforce," said Pappenberger.

Ann-Kathrin Hartmann, apprentice in year three with DHR said, “For me, working as a Civilian member of the U.S. Army has been the best decision of my life, I am extremely happy to see young people sharing my passion and starting an apprenticeship today. Be open-minded, gain knowledge and go the extra mile - and you will succeed!”