EU Study Tour: Gleaning Insights from European Innovations in Vocational Education and Training

A team of community college educators from across the US recently participated in a study tour of Spain and Germany. This initiative was part of the “Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work” project, funded by the US National Science Foundation. The project, led by the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD), aims to understand the impact of emerging technologies on the need for highly skilled workers.

Lessons from EU Countries: EU Policy and Practice in Education

As the changing nature of work poses challenges for the US education system, examining global responses becomes increasingly important. The European Union (EU), with its advanced economies and diverse approaches to vocational education and training (VET), offers potential lessons for the US CTE system.

Selected through a competitive application process, study tour participants committed to a rigorous travel schedule across Germany and the Basque region of Spain with the goal of gaining insight into technician training programs in EU countries. They were hosted by a number of premier educational facilities and industry sites to explore how the adoption of new technologies is shaping technician training, educational program design, and school-industry partnerships. They engaged in in-depth discussions with their EU faculty contemporaries and had exclusive access in touring facilities like Festo, Siemens, and SMC. The EU study tour participants will present their findings at the HITEC Conference in Kansas City in late July.

Project Overview

“Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work” seeks to assess how technological advancements are influencing the demand for skilled technicians, and promotes regional collaboration between community college educators and their industry partners.

For more information, email Ann-Claire Anderson at