LARGO – Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Michael A. Grego and School Board Member Robin L. Wikle have traveled to Germany to learn more about the German vocational and apprenticeship educational system. They were joined by Paul Wahnish, director of East Lake High’s academy of engineering and other Tampa Bay educators.
The delegation toured several academic institutions and industry headquarters and was an opportunity to study Germany’s dual education system, which offers students hands-on experience in various fields. This model propels German students for college, vocational schools, apprenticeships and careers after high school.
“This trip is a wonderful opportunity for us to learn more about Germany’s highly successful dual education model and consider which pieces we may want to implement or expand upon here in Pinellas County,” Grego said.
The Pinellas Education Foundation funded the school officials’ trip in its entirety.
“We live in a global marketplace, and it is essential for businesses to stay abreast of benchmarks and practices of industry peers in other countries,” said Pinellas Education Foundation Chairman Jim Myers.
Wahnish, who participated in a similar trip in 2008, is also the founder of Career Technical Education Foundation Inc. The Pinellas County-based nonprofit career education foundation supports high school career academies throughout the southeast.
The number of German companies operating in the Tampa Bay region has grown 35 percent in the past four years, Wahnish said. The delegation will visit with several of those companies.
“The idea is to be able to give our students here in Pinellas County an opportunity to have a viable job and be an asset to the community,” Wahnish said. “Our goal at CTEF is changing the face of education today to meet the needs of tomorrow.”