ANSBACH, Germany (September 28, 2023) - The labor market across Germany has undergone a fundamental change. Where companies used to be able to select the top candidates from a large pool of applicants, the market is evolving more and more in favor of the employee. Phenomena such as the demographic change and the shortage of skilled candidates present employers with the challenge of surviving the competition for the best talent. U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Ansbach is once again leading the way with an innovative approach to secure such talent by incorporating the German education system for young adults.
Many companies are desperately looking for employees and skilled workers. The U.S. Army, with multiple locations throughout Germany, is equally affected by this.
“It used to be the battle of talent - today it is the battle for talent,” explains Mike Engen, Director of Human Resources at USAG Ansbach. “Employers must find ways to either attract those candidates or must ensure they take care of their own offspring.”
Engineering positions have been hard to fill at U.S. garrisons for many years. The German dual education system provides opportunities such as apprenticeship programs or the dual-studies system. These programs enable the USAG Ansbach Directorate of Public Works (DPW) to fill existing or upcoming vacancies.
The German dual-study program combines academic studies at the University of Applied Science with hands-on periods of learning in a company or an organization. Dual study programs are very popular in Germany due to their hands-on focus. During the program, students acquire relevant and valuable work experience and gain understanding of the organization.
The U.S. Army in Europe has established such a cooperation with the Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (DHBW). The three-year program leads to a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. This year, for the first time in this established partnership, the U.S. Army will employ a dual-studies student at USAG Ansbach. The student will enter the program in the field of civil engineering Oct. 1.
Moses Henderson, Chief of Engineering at USAG Ansbach, is excited about the new initiative: “This is a great opportunity for us. With the dual-studies student we will gain a new employee, a young professional, and a native speaker all at the same time. We are looking forward to it.”
Civil engineers at USAG Ansbach fill project manager positions where they provide engineering expertise within the various phases of construction, restoration, maintenance, and repair projects. But they also serve as a point of contact with the German Bauamt or the Landesbaudirektion, design plans and establish specifications, scopes of work and cost estimates, and ensure the adherence of safety programs. They are part of an important process and secure the garrison’s future.
In an era defined by demographic shifts and skill shortages, USAG Ansbach's commitment to securing top talent not only benefits the military community but also serves as a testament to the power of creative solutions in the pursuit of excellence. This innovative endeavor ensures that both employers and employees continue to thrive in a landscape where talent is the ultimate currency.
Uwe Wagner, Workforce Development Specialist, USAG Ansbach, contributed to this article.
The U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach military community is located in the Franconian region of Bavaria and is spread across six sites and nine kasernes dispersed around the city of Ansbach and the village of Illesheim. Today, Ansbach is home to 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, the community's largest tenant unit, as well as the 7th Engineer Brigade, 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, and 1st Battalion, 57th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. The garrison takes pride in its support to more than 8,500 Soldiers, civilians, and family members working and living in the Ansbach area.
For more news from U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach, visit: https://www.army.mil/FranconianNews or https://www.facebook.com/usagansbachcommunity/