Professional Trainee Exchange

Establishing stronger business, political, and human ties

Key program elements

  • Trainee exchange programs allow international professionals to gain exposure to American culture and receive training in American business practices in their field.
  • Participants are experienced professionals with a degree or certificate and often as much as five years of work experience in their fields.
  • Participants come from countries key to U.S. national security interests like Brazil, China, India, Korea, and Eastern Europe.
  • Trainees return to home to utilize their enhanced professional skills and knowledge to advance their careers, and to share their experiences and increased understanding of the U.S., creating a powerful multiplier effect.
  • Maximum program duration is 18 months for trainees.


Creating leaders and partners for the future

Professional trainee exchange participants take home positive impressions of the U.S. and its people, as well as an enhanced understanding of American business and professional practices. Their time as trainees leads to more business contact and partnerships between the U.S. and their home countries. Over time, as these program alumni continue to move into positions of leadership, their exchange experiences create a foundation for positive relationships between the U.S. and their home countries, and contribute to a reservoir of bilateral goodwill that will support American interests in the future.


Supporting the interests of American businesses

American companies, businesses, and nongovernmental organizations choose to act as trainee exchange hosts for a variety of important reasons. Many American companies seek to develop a pool of trained representatives overseas or hope to expand their overseas presence. Some businesses with significant overseas operations wish to exchange key staff in order to improve communication and understanding. Still other organizations and companies see exchange programs as a means to forming ties between world citizens and international markets, cutting through stereotypes and perceptions formed by the media, and creating productive partnerships forged through face-to-face interactions. 

Indeed, American companies increasingly see professionally-based exchange programs as integral to their operations. The relationships formed via exchange programs lead to new overseas partnerships and expansion into new international markets. The programs improve the productivity of American staff, as working with an international colleague often requires new modes of thinking, which can stimulate improved performance. Exchange programs also encourage innovation—the different worldview that international trainees bring to their American workplaces encourages problems to be approached from new angles, and typically results in more comprehensive solutions.


Protecting international trainees and American workers

The Alliance and its members support strong trainee regulations that protect international participants, as well as the interests of their American hosts, and the American people. Professional trainee sponsor organizations are designated by the Department of State, which regularly monitors and makes adjustments to the regulations for these programs. Trainee program regulations require:

  • Trainee exchange participants may not displace American workers or serve to fill a labor need.
  • Trainee host employers must complete, and have approved, an Traineeship Placement Plan, to ensure that exchange participants obtain professional skills, knowledge, and competencies through structured and guided work and activities.
  • Host employers must also agree to provide trainees with opportunities to supplement their work experience, such as classroom training, seminars, rotation through several different departments, attendance at conferences, and similar learning experiences.
  • Sponsors must actively facilitate cultural exchange opportunities for participants, beyond the cultural exchange that happens daily in the workplace.
  • Sponsors actively protect the health, safety, and welfare of program participants, and take seriously their role facilitating experiences that will improve the image and influence of the United States abroad. 

See more information on the Trainee Program on the Department of State website.

The following Alliance member organizations sponsor trainee programs:

AIESEC United States

Alliance Abroad Group (AAG)

American Hospitality Academy

American Immigration Council

American Pool Enterprises, Inc

The American-Scandinavian Foundation


ASSE International Student Exchange Programs


CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange

Communicating for Agriculture

Council for Global Immigration [formerly American Council on International Personnel (ACIP)]

Council of International Programs, USA (CIPUSA)

Cultural Exchange Network (CENET)

Cultural Homestay International (CHI)

Cultural Vistas

French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC)

Global Educational Concepts, Inc

Greenheart Exchange (Greenheart International)

Institute of International Education (IIE)

InterExchange Career Training USA

International Cultural Exchange Organization (ICEO)

Intrax Cultural Exchange

Mountbatten Institute

Mountbatten Internship Programme

Odyssey International Exchange

Spirit Cultural Exchange

The Ohio Program

United Work and Travel, a division of APEI

World Wide Cultural Exchange (WWCE)

A list of all inbound trainee sponsors designated by the Department of State can be found on the Department’s website.