College to Host German-American Business Summit

College to Host German-American Business Summit

The first College of Charleston German-American Business Summit, which will take place from noon to 5 p.m. on Oct. 6, 2016, in the College of Charleston’s Stern Center Ballroom, couldn’t have come at a more timely moment.

With $4.1 billion dollars of additional investment between 2011-2015, German industry is making a tremendous impact on the state of South Carolina and is now responsible for 27,000 jobs throughout the state. Up to 1,300 of those new jobs will come directly from the plant expansion at Mercedes-Benz Vans in North Charleston, which just broke ground on its facility expansion in late July 2016.

The summit is organized by the College of Charleston’s German Program, the Career Center, the School of Business, and the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs, in partnership with the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States. This gathering will feature:

  • a job and internship expo for College of Charleston students with German companies, including: Mercedes-Benz Vans LLC, BMW, Bosch, IFA Rotorion, KION, Hubner, Continental Tire and Stoebich Fire Protection.
  • Opening remarks from Dr. Robin Mishra, Minister-Counselor from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Keynote address from Sam Moses of Parker Poe on “Building Bridges between Higher Education and German Industry in South Carolina”
  • Panel discussion on workforce needs with representatives from Mercedes-Benz Vans, LLC, Bosch, BMW, IFA Rotorion, the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S.

The summit will conclude with a networking reception for attendees from the business community.

Moses, who represents foreign companies and manufacturing operations, notes: “There are already several dynamic models for public-private partnerships with German industry in South Carolina.  With its exceptional German program, and high-ranking globally-oriented School of Business, and strong liberal arts mission, the College of Charleston is the ideal place for a further expansion of those productive relationships.”

One of the panel participants, Mercedes-Bens Vans, LLC CEO Michael Balke is excited about the potential outcomes of the panel discussion and the conference: “For Mercedes-Benz Vans, LLC, our workforce is the main success factor of our plant expansion. Together with other international manufacturers, we share the challenge of successfully training the workforce of the future.”

The coming summit is attracting regional and national interest and is sponsored by the German Embassy in Washington, D.C., through its Germany meets the US Campaign, as well as by Mercedes-Benz Vans, LLC, IFA Rotorion, Continental Tire, Bosch LLC, KION North America, Stöbich Fire Protection, Parker Poe, Hoffmann Group, Macmillan / Pazdan / Smith Architecture and GEL Engineering.

Morgan Koerner, chair of German and Russian Studies at the College, is elated about the spotlight this event is putting on the massive presence of German industry in South Carolina: “It’s been a secret for far too long here in the Lowcountry that proficiency in German and knowledge of German culture are an extremely lucrative asset for those pursuing careers, and upward mobility, with industry in the state and globally.”