Siemens CEO stresses 'commitment to U.S. manufacturing' with Trump

March 21, 2017
by Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter
President Donald Trump is going to get a little “apprentice” help in his U.S. jobs efforts.

That's what Siemens AG President and CEO Joe Kaeser stressed during a March 17 meeting at the White House with the president, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other global CEOs.

Kaeser was joined by Siemens USA CEO Judy Marks and one of Siemens’ apprentices, Chad Robinson, from Siemens' Charlotte Energy Hub, to highlight Siemens' use of the apprenticeship model in the U.S.

"A highly-skilled manufacturing workforce is critical to Siemens in the United States, where we've been active for over 160 years. The U.S. is now our largest market – we've invested about $35 billion here in the past 15 years," said Kaeser. "I appreciated the opportunity to discuss with President Trump how industry, academia and government can work together to help empower workers with the skills needed for success in today's advanced manufacturing environment and prepare them well for next generation manufacturing."

Kaeser explained that Siemens has 60 manufacturing sites in all 50 states in the country.

“I feel very honored today to be part of an initiative that brings not only the apprenticeship and the training for the current manufacturing into play,” he said at the meeting, adding that “we combine the present and the future” for both America and for “great” manufacturing.

President Trump spoke about the value of apprenticeship programs.

“The German apprenticeship model is one of the proven programs to developing a highly skilled workforce,” he said, adding that, “Germany has been amazing at this, and I’m glad that the leaders of so many companies represented today have recently launched successful programs right here in the United States. And we need that because we’re training people as the jobs are pouring back in — and they are coming back in big league.”

In addition to promising a “significant expansion” of the firm's highly successful apprenticeship program in the U.S., Kaeser pledged to hire and train at least 300 U.S. military veterans per year over next three years to add to the 2,500 already working for the company, and to provide over $2 billion in industry software grants to train students for nextgen manufacturing jobs.

He also emphasized that the recent announcement of the company's $300 million expansion of Siemens' Walpole, Massachusetts, manufacturing and R&D facility, which could lead to an additional 700 permanent new jobs, as an example of the company's commitment to the U.S. marketplace.

When that expansion was announced, Bernd Montag, chief executive officer, Siemens Healthineers stated that, “the expansion of the Walpole facility fits into the strategic growth plans for the company and allows us to increase our manufacturing footprint in the United States, the largest health care market in the world."

That investment underscored the importance of the U.S. presence to the company.

“For Siemens, the U.S. is an extremely vital production location, one of its most important research centers, and a key base from which Siemens exports globally – with about $5.4 billion in exports during the last fiscal year,” the company said in a statement.

Globally, Siemens spends over $1 billion in R&D annually and $50 million in job training programs.