GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – Three German apprentices began a more-than-two-year phase of their career by joining the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria workforce Sept. 1, 2023.
Col. Kevin A. Poole, garrison commander, welcomed them to the Army community during their initial onboarding session.
“You are valued members of this team," he said. "It is very important for this Garrison that you are all here. … Thank you for your service and for choosing us.”
This year three apprentices will start their two-and-a-half-year journey with the garrison. Ricarda Kneidel and Patrick Hofmann will work in the Directorate of Public Works, and Anna Warstat will work in the Directorate of Resource Management.
“Apprentices are superstars," said Rodrigo Velazquez, director of Resource Management. "Some of them are top performers. I am excited for the new apprentices to finally join our team. … We need to invest and grow the workforce of the future. We are here to support you guys. You are the future of the garrison.”
All three apprentices expressed excitement to work in an international environment, to learn, and to meet new people.
"I am looking forward to my time here and want to learn a lot," said Hoffman. “I hope that with this training I can help the Americans here and make their life better.”
An apprenticeship in the German system allows interns to obtain on-the-job training while also attending a vocational school. The program provides an innovative way to supplement and rejuvenate the local national segment of the garrison workforce.
“The U.S. Army Apprenticeship Program is a very successful program, having produced a great deal of young talent that is now essential to our workforce and our success,” said Ann-Kathrin Hartmann, administrative services specialist with the Workforce Development section, DHR.
Hartmann herself was a former apprentice and is now responsible for the apprenticeship program at USAG Bavaria.
“It is a pleasure to watch these young people grow and to guide them along their journey,” she said.
During the event Kathrin Schertl, management and program assistant and former apprentice at DPW, was honored for exceptional good work during her apprenticeship. Schertl was among the top graduates of the 2022/2023 academic year at Europa Berufsschule and was therefore already honored for her achievements in July. Now that she also passed her tests at the chamber of industry and commerce with honors, she was recognized again.
“She and her accomplishments are a hallmark of the garrison for future generations of trainees,” said Hans Pappenberger, program analyst at DPW and Schertl’s on-the-job trainer. "We are glad that we can continue to employ her in our service.”
“These past two years I have spent working for USAG Bavaria have been rather interesting,” said Schertl. “I would like to thank you for the opportunity of getting to know a little more about all of the structures, mission goals and specific working skills and requirements that I have been given by the USAG Bavaria and, especially, the DPW.”
USAG Bavaria offered a variety of apprenticeship positions since 1998. So far, there have been more than 100 graduates of the program. Of the graduates, 77 percent have chosen to continue working with the Grafenwoehr Military Community.
For a list of American job opportunities and German job and apprenticeship opportunities, visit https://home.army.mil/bavaria/index.php/employment.