From April 29 to May 4, 2019, the American Council on Germany kicked-off the first round of exchanges for its Transatlantic Cities of Tomorrow: Digitalization and the Future of Work initiative, a three-year reciprocal exchange for thought-leaders in small- and medium-sized cities in Germany and the U.S. to develop solutions to common challenges resulting from digitalization and to identify innovative approaches to turning these challenges into opportunities for their local workforce and economies.
The 16-person delegation included education specialists, information technology experts, and representatives from economic development organizations, incubators, and city government from the regions of Dortmund and Darmstadt in Germany and the cities of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Youngstown in the United States.
In Cleveland, the group had opportunities to learn about technology workforce training initiatives at Cuyahoga Community College and MAGNET: Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, the Cleveland Foundation’s Digital Excellence Initiative working to ensure all residents can successfully participate in the digital world and economy, efforts to bring affordable broadband access and digital literacy training to under-served neighborhoods through the nonprofit DigitalC, and the City of Cleveland’s smart city initiatives.
The visit to Youngstownhighlighted the city’s efforts to overcome the loss of the steel industry and automotive manufacturing and transform itself into a leader for additive manufacturing, otherwise known as 3-D printing. Meetings with the Youngstown Business Incubator, America Makes, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, and Youngstown State University highlighted the importance of collaboration between sectors to align resources and strategies. Among many highlights, the group visited the largest 3-D printer in the world, using software and systems controls by Siemens, that is being designed and built by Center Street Technologies in Youngstown.
The delegation concluded the week in Pittsburgh with visits to Carnegie Mellon University’s Block Center Future of Work Initiative, Remake Learning – a network striving to transform teaching and learning in support of young people navigating rapid social and technological change, Partner4Work to learn about TechHire Pittsburgh which is a public-private collaborative aimed at bridging the digital skills divide in the region, and the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Innovation and Performance which drives the city’s technology and smart city initiatives. The Energy and Innovation Center hosted a small reception for participants and guests on the evening of May 2.
Throughout the week, both the Germans and Americans consistently noted that both societies face the same problems and challenges, and that there are numerous opportunities to share ideas with each other to find solutions and help their cities adapt and utilize new technologies. During the first week of July, the delegation will convene again for a week-long reciprocal visit to Berlin, Dortmund, and Darmstadt.
Transatlantic Cities of Tomorrow: Digitalization and the Future of Work is organized and administered by the American Council on Germany with generous support from the Transatlantic Program of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany through funds of the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi). This project is also administered under the auspices of the Deutschlandjahr USA 2018/19 – Year of German-American Friendship.