Providing specific training to technicians to meet the needs of the company, BMW has created a number of programs. One program, called STEP (Service Technician Education Program) has been especially successful. Since 1997, nearly 5,200 students have completed BMW’s STEP program, 95% of which have been offered well-paying jobs at a BMW dealer.
The STEP program is a 16-week BMW technical training program that accepts candidates from post-secondary automotive training programs and provides them with hands-on technical education for employment within the nationwide BMW dealer network. The program is currently taught in nine locations across the country, where students develop the skills needed to repair and maintain the current and future generations of BMW vehicles.
To expand this program, and other training programs, on June 26, BMW of North America announced a $56 million investment which includes the openings of two new technician training facilities in Spartanburg, SC and Atlanta, GA, and the expansion of training capacity in Ontario, CA and at the company’s headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, NJ.
“As vehicle technology becomes increasingly complex, the need for highly trained and skilled technicians becomes critical to providing the premium level of service our customers demand”, said Claus Eberhart, vice president BMW Aftersales. “These new facilities will not only ensure that our technicians will have the ability to maintain and service both current and future generations of BMW vehicles, but also the opportunity to have a successful career in the automotive industry.”
The Spartanburg training center is located adjacent to BMW Plant Spartanburg. The new 35,000 square foot facility includes two technical training workshops as well as four paint and body training rooms. BMW’s $10 million investment into the training location is part of the company’s ongoing investment into the region.
In Atlanta, the brand new facility in Atlanta spans over 53,000 square feet and will offer students technical training, STEP/Apprentice training, Motorrad and body and paint dealer training. The $17 million investment will service dealers and customers throughout the region.
The BMW Group in the U.S. offers several technical training programs at more than 10 locations nationwide which are designed to identify, train and develop candidates who will become skilled technicians to support its dealer network of more than 650 BMW, MINI, BMW Motorrad and Rolls-Royce dealers nationwide.
- The MSTEP (Military Service Technician Education Program) program was launched in 2018 at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California to assist veterans in seamlessly transitioning from a military career to a civilian career in the automotive industry. The program was launched in partnership with UTI (Universal Technical Institute), making BMW the first premium automotive manufacturer to deliver technical training on an active military base.
- The BMW Apprentice Program was launched in 2002 to provide disadvantaged youths in metro areas the opportunity to develop a trade. The six-month program features rotations at both a BMW center and at a BMW Group University training center, allowing students greater flexibility. Graduates enter the workforce as entry-level line technicians.
- The BMW Scholars program is an apprenticeship program offered by BMW Manufacturing that educates and trains students to work in the highly technical environment of advanced manufacturing. The program size was recently doubled to include 200 apprentices and added a fourth education partner in Piedmont Technical College. Since first announcing the Scholars program in 2011, BMW has partnered with three technical colleges near the company’s U.S. manufacturing facility, Plant Spartanburg. In the program, students attend class full-time and work at the BMW plant for 20 – 25 hours per week. BMW covers the cost of tuition and books, provides healthcare benefits and pays students for their work at BMW.