Stihl trainee receives award

The German American Chambers of Commerce (GACC) presented the GACC Award for Trainee of the Year to A.J. Scherman of Stihl Inc. The GACC Trainee Award recognizes outstanding individuals working for German subsidiaries who have demonstrated excellence in their workforce training programs.

1602_OPE_IN_Stihl4_AJ Scherman2-webScherman is currently enrolled in the four-year Mechatronics Technician apprenticeship program at Stihl Inc. in Virginia Beach, Va. The Stihl apprenticeship program is adapted from the German model of vocational training. In this “dual system,” trainees split their time between hands-on training and classroom education. Scherman was one of only four to five applicants out of 300 who were offered a spot in the highly sought-after apprenticeship program. He is currently working on a project in the Stihl Technical Training Center to upgrade and modify its Festo training simulators, which are used by certified Festo instructors for training the apprentices, engineers, mechatronics and maintenance technicians.

The jury’s decision was influenced by Scherman’s dedication to work full time, attend college classes, while supporting his family and maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.

Scherman said, “Mechatronics is the future of the manufacturing world and the gateway to where I ultimately want to end up – which is being an engineer.”

Virginia Beach-based Stihl Inc., one of several manufacturing facilities in the Stihl Group, is the headquarters for the company’s U.S. operations. Stihl Inc. employs more than 2,100 people nationwide, with more than 1,900 in Virginia Beach in a variety of positions from manufacturing, product assembly, manufacturing engineering, sales and marketing, and finance.

The GACC Trainee of the Year Award, sponsored by Festo and Lufthansa, is part of a presentation of the German American Business Outlook, an annual economic survey conducted by the German American Chamber network in the U.S.

For more about the GACC Award, visit


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