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CLEVELAND, Tenn. - With $2 billion investments in the area from Volks-wagen and Wacker Chemical come German natives and the potential for new business, organizers of a training workshop say.

"We expect to see more (Germans) and their families moving into the area," said Gary Farlow, the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce president. The Chamber is co-sponsoring "Understanding the German Way."

"Part of (the workshop) was to try to help our local business people and others get acquainted with German culture, German business practices, things of that nature," Mr. Farlow said.

He said he hopes that after the workshop sessions "we understand their culture a little bit better and hopefully (the sessions will) help us be more accommodating when they come to live here."

Together with Höferle Consulting, a community and public relations company founded by German native Christian Höferle, the Chamber will offer six sessions covering topics such as the school systems, communication and consumer habits.

"The overall concept was to provide as much of an in-depth orientation as possible for local businesses into the German business mindset," said Mr. Höferle, who moved to Cleveland almost six years ago.

IF YOU GO

* What: "Understanding the German Way" training sessions

* When: Wednesdays from 8-10 a.m. starting March 24-June 2

* Where: The Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, 225 Keith St. SW, Cleveland, Tenn.

* Cost: For chamber members, $35 for a single session, $80 for three sessions or $140 for all six sessions. Nonmember cost is $60 for one, $165 for three or $315 for six sessions.

* Information: 423-472-6587

ABOUT THE SESSIONS

* March 24: Session 1: Land and People/Values and Attitudes

* April 7: Session 2: Business World

* April 21: Session 3: Private vs Public

* May 5: Session 4: Communication

* May 19: Session 5: School Systems

* June 2: Session 6: Housing and Real Estate/Consumer Habits.

"There are several things I would like for them to take with them after the sessions," he said. "One is a deeper understanding of the differences of the two cultures and business mentality, (and two) to take that knowledge to their organizations and apply it to their daily work routine or maybe adjust their businesses accordingly to meet their future or already customer base," he said.

At the same time, Mr. Farlow said, "in conversations we've had with some of the Wacker folks who have been in this country for a while, they were just as quick to tell us (they) need to understand our culture, as well."

The first session, "Land and People/Values and Attitudes," will be Wednesday starting at 8 a.m. at the Chamber of Commerce office.

"I hope people will leave thinking they've learned a lot," said Mr. Höferle, "but also I hope to raise a desire to learn more."

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