Orientation to the CEMETS Apprenticeship Reform Lab

There is a rising tide of interest in modernizing and expanding apprenticeships in California as a strategy to fight income inequality and address a growing jobs-skills mismatch. California’s Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom has set an ambitious goal to increase apprenticeships from 84,000 to 500,000 by 2029, but what will it take to achieve that goal?

The Center on the Economics and Management of Education and Training Systems (CEMETS) Reform Lab in Switzerland helps states and countries around the world with challenges like this, drawing on evidence from the best education and training systems around the world.  Every summer, they run a Summer Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. California sent its first delegation there in the summer of 2018. On December 18, 2018, Dr. Katherine Caves from CEMETS, Bob Lanter from the California Workforce Association (CWA), and Vinz Koller from Social Policy Research Associates (SPR) led a webinar focused on:

  • The business case for apprenticeships and education reform;
  • How to get involved in the education reform movement in California; and
  • An overview of the CEMETS Summer Institutes and plans for assembling a second California delegation to go to the CEMETS Summer Institute in 2019 to gain a deeper understanding of education and training reform.

The slide deck for the event is available here. The new report on the future of apprenticeships in California that Vinz mentioned is available here. You can view a recording of the event below. Please feel free to share it!


This event was organized by SPR in partnership with the CWA and CEMETS, and it was graciously hosted by the San Francisco Office of Economic & Workforce Development in San Francisco, California.

How to get involved

For more information about the education reform effort in California, or if you want to apply to be part of the California delegation to the CEMETS Summer Institute in 2019, please contact Vinz Koller: (831) 277-4726 | [email protected] | @kollerv

Speaker Bios

Katherine Caves Dr. Katherine Caves is a postdoctoral researcher in the research centre for comparative education systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and earned her master’s degree in the field of Education. Her PhD research was on the economics of education at the University of Zurich. Her research interests centre around the economic, institutional, and infrastructure foundations of strong vocational education and training (VET) systems all over the world, especially what those foundations are in successful VET systems and how they can be developed in nascent VET systems. In addition to this project, she is currently working on identifying the success factors and barriers to labour market-oriented education systems reforms with the Centre for the Economics and Management of Education and Training Systems (CEMETS).

Bob Lanter Bob Lanter is the Executive Director of the California Workforce Association. Bob has 25 years’ experience in the public sector and non-profit industry, specializing in the field of workforce development and job training. He has held various positions in local workforce investment systems from case manager to the Executive Director of the Contra Costa County Workforce Board. He gained national/federal experience working for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration as a Federal Project Officer. He graduated from California State University, East Bay with a bachelor’s degree in Personnel Administration and Industrial Relations; additionally he is a Certified Master Facilitator from the Institute of Cultural Affairs and an Instructor for the California State Universities in Sacramento and Los Angeles. Bob can be reached at [email protected].

Bob Lanter Vinz Koller, Senior Strategist for Capacity Building at Social Policy Research Associates is a national expert on US career education and workforce policy and a thought leader in adapting a European dual professional education system for the US. As a Swiss-American dual national, he has deep understanding of the Swiss and the US systems.   Through project work for the US Department of Labor, Education and Housing and Urban Development, he has also developed particular expertise in developing career pathway and apprenticeship programs, improving reentry programs for ex-offenders in education and workforce development. He and his SPR team, in collaboration with the Foundation for California Community Colleges are coaching the California Apprenticeship Initiative grantees throughout California. Mr. Koller has a BA equivalent in Political Science from the University of Zurich and a Masters in International Policy Studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

Resources for more information


The Summer Institute

Stigma to Status: Paradigm Shifts toward VET – a post from the CEMETS blog

The Swiss Secret to Jump-Starting Your Career – Colorado’s attempt to create a youth apprenticeship system, featured in The Atlantic.

Debt-Free College: Podcast with Dr. Katherine Caves and Vinz Koller – interviewed by Spencer Critchley of Dastardly Cleverness in the Service of Good.

Closing the Gap: The Future of Apprenticeship in California

Cover of The Future of Apprenticeship in California
Download Closing the Gap: The Future of Apprenticeship in California

How the Swiss Train Apprentices Differently

Cover of How the Swiss Train Apprentices Differently
Download How the Swiss Train Apprentices Differently

Jobs Now: Swiss-Style Vocational Education and Training

Cover of Jobs Now: Swiss-Style Vocational Education and Training Slides
Download Jobs Now: Swiss-Style Vocational Education and Training, Summer 2017

Youth Apprenticeship in America Today

Cover of Youth Apprenticeship in America Today Report
Download Youth Apprenticeship in America Today, New America, December 2017