WASHINGTON — Best practices from Germany's manufacturing regions are powerful tools for American efforts to strengthen the sector in the United States. Drawing on lessons from a recent study tour to Munich and Nuremberg, a new paper by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, released as a part of the Global Cities Initiative, documents Germany's model for industrial competitiveness and how it can be applied to U.S. cities, metro areas and states.
Germany's world-class manufacturing sector benefits from powerful public-private collaborations on applied research to support innovation and a dual model of vocational education to sustain a highly trained workforce.
While recognized as global best practices, these models cannot be imported wholesale into the United States. Rather, three key takeaways should guide U.S. practitioners and policymakers seeking to adapt German skills and innovation practices to support manufacturing here at home:
• Regional collaboration between public, private, and civic actors
• Targeted institutional intermediaries that address market and coordination failures
• Incentive-based investments to support small and medium-sized businesses
“Revitalizing U.S. manufacturing will require renewed public-private-civic partnerships that deliver the workforce and technologies demanded by 21st century industry,” said Joseph Parilla, Brookings research analyst and lead author. “Political and cultural differences notwithstanding, U.S. local and state leaders should view Germany as an illustrative model in their own efforts to advance industrial competitiveness.”
The paper features promising examples of places investing in the future of their manufacturing sectors using the most successful elements of the German system.
Places such as Louisville-Lexington, San Diego, Detroit, Michigan and South Carolina, which have adopted some of Germany's best practices, recognize manufacturing remains an important contributor to growth, job creation, trade, and innovation.
Launched in 2012, the Global Cities Initiative is a five-year joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase aimed at helping city and metropolitan leaders become more globally fluent by providing an in-depth and data-driven look at their regional standing on crucial global economic measures, highlighting best policy and practice innovations from around the world, and creating an international network of leaders who ultimately trade and grow together.
For more information, visit www.brookings.edu/projects/global-cities.aspx.