On her visit to Munich today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Secretary Pritzker toured iwis Motorsystems, a family-owned company that is making investments and creating jobs in the United States. One key aspect of U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker’s “Open for Business Agenda” is the importance of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to the United States. A report recently released by the Department of Commerce and the Council of Economic Advisors found that foreign-owned companies employ 5.6 million people in the United States, so it is clear that FDI is a major driver to job creation and economic growth.
A “Mittelstand” (medium-sized) company, iwis is a leading supplier of automotive products used in a vast array of engines and vehicles, and has growing investments in the United States. The company has a production facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, and a subsidiary, iwis engine systems, in Troy, Michigan. Additionally, operations have recently begun at a new facility in Murray, Kentucky, to produce timing drive systems. This latest facility accounts for a $12.5 million investment and, when fully operational, will employ 75 people.
The Commerce Department’s SelectUSA program is working to attract even more of these job-creating investments. German firms like iwis are poised to make an even bigger impact in the United States – Germany sent one of the largest delegations to the SelectUSA Summit that President Obama and Secretary Pritzker hosted on Octover 31 – November 1. For 2012, FDI from Germany totaled more than $272 billion.
Secretary Pritzker also had the chance to see how Germany is working to educate their workforce for the jobs of the 21st century. During the visit, iwis CEO Johannes Winklhofer discussed how his company is implementing Germany’s “dual track” model of vocational education. The “dual track” model blends classroom instruction with hands-on technical training, a method well-known for helping young people who are not pursuing four-year degrees get the training and certifications they need to launch their careers. For the first time, the Commerce Department is making skills a top priority, and Secretary Pritzker was eager to learn more about Germany’s system.
Germany continues to be an important economic partner to the United States, and there is much that we can learn from their businesses and their education system. The Commerce Department is committed to making the United States an attractive place to do business by investing in American workers and making it easier for foreign firms to invest and create jobs here.