Traditionally, nations have sought creative ways to forge relationships to strengthen diplomatic partnerships and economic ties. Often, these attempts have occurred through sports (such as the Olympic games), celebrity interactions (films) and technology (ever heard of Apple? Mercedes?). Changing political climates and scandals can contribute to an “ebb and flow” of relationships among nations. However, public opinion and market leaders often have the ability to see past political rhetoric and instead focus on opportunities for beneficial cooperation.
Elon Musk, the CEO of automaker Tesla is known for being a developer rocket ships, electric cars and its newest venture – solar roof tiles. The company, founded in 2003 by a group of entrepreneurs, achieved notoriety in just five years (2008) with its first electric sports car. To keep up with competition across the Atlantic, BMW recently released its own electric car. While the German development of the electric car is in line with the US electric car market, Tesla is still largely dependent on German technology and innovation for its success.
Creating a symbiotic relationship among transnational businesses will require human interaction with both technology and machinery, and modernizing the current workforce. Training workers to design, maintain, program and operate machinery provides economic potential for both the US and Germany as well as a beneficial relationship for both nations in the development of industry.
Germany leads in engineering programs, product development and expertise in manufacturing. They offer established apprenticeship programs and their education system has a developed pathway for vocational (non-University tracked) employment. In the US, viable tracks in these fields can be challenging economically for those that don’t seek to attend an institution of higher learning. The opportunity for an apprenticeship in Germany could positively influence the earning potential for a tradesman/woman.
With an expanding population, Germany needs employment growth at all levels. To provide opportunities for their workforce and help absorb the impact on the growing society, US expertise can provide reciprocal training in the fields of agriculture and cybersecurity. Silicon Valley is a hub for cyber development and expertise.
China is rapidly advancing in the area of product development and technology. To remain competitive, the US and Europe can strengthen current economic ties to advance security and efficiency with exchange partnerships that will benefit the global marketplace. Workers are looking for opportunity and stability. The future waits for no one and if countries don’t take advantage of the timing, we could miss out on an opportunity for alliances and cooperation that would be mutually beneficial.
The Opportunities: Technology and business leaders would be fundamental in influencing political representatives of a need for a more open partnership among the US and Germany. Innovation, in addition to jobs, will produce security and continuity in the ever-evolving global marketplace. Creating a bi-lateral center for advancement brings positive publicity for politicians and provides support for the initiative.
Cybersecurity – Providing security for infrastructure, banking, and government systems is a common goal that should be a priority among allies. Protecting IT and future robotics is a mutual challenge that needs a solution and provides an opportunity for cooperation between the US and Germany.
Technology – A field that increasingly affects every individual, government and business. Data and machinery are rapidly evolving. Even basic cell phones have technology that can record, type, photograph, navigate, call, e-mail, surf, connect, play and shop (among other abilities). The opportunity is for a cognitive machine/human interface to work together for the advancement and protection of the field.
Sustainability – Sustainable energy is a growing area for job creation around the globe. Germany has a wealth of technology and the US could benefit from this talent in its production plants. Creating centers at academic institutions and leading research companies would be globally beneficial. While it should be noted that the US has declared its intent to withdraw from the Paris Peace Accords (PPA), there is a large opportunity to partner with states and private businesses seeking to follow the guidelines of the PPA.
Agriculture – The US can provide expertise on productivity with agricultural machinery. The US has a well-established system for the planting, harvesting and processing of crops. Germany could benefit with knowledge of the agricultural process to increase efficiency in farming practices.
Tools that are effective in raising awareness about a campaign or innovation most often appear on social media. Short and humorous marketing videos, tie-ins to sporting events or the right celebrity can make or break a product. As a result of the communication, the group of people being targeted for such a program could range from recent high school graduates to workers that suffered layoffs during an economic downturn and are seeking new development opportunities.
There will always be geopolitical factors that can strengthen or weaken public relationships between nations. To weather the changing political climates, the independent Trans-Atlantic partnership can obtain “grassroots” support by appealing to work force leaders seeking job creation and stability. This puts pressure on political leaders to provide jobs. To influence both political and public support for a revitalized dialogue between Germany and the United States, a common appeal for job training and a secure future can rise above the political rhetoric. This partnership, which will provide apprentice exchanges in both the US and Germany will seek to focus on the areas of cybersecurity, technology and sustainability and agriculture. This will provide a variety of knowledge that will appeal to potential employees from varying demographics.
While the development of technology is often competitive among businesses and nations (remember the US/Soviet space programs?), partnerships can instead focus on cooperation and stability for long-term advantages. Germany and the US can work together to share knowledge and expertise, thereby increasing a Trans-Atlantic partnership and creating the foundation for a mutually built “work force of the future.”