As part of a plan to invest more than $200,000,000 into BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina, BMW Manufacturing is building a new training center. Scheduled to open during the summer of 2022, the 67,000 square-foot facility is forecasted to cost $20,000,000, and will replace the existing BMW Training and Development Center (TDC) which was first used as office space in 1993. The aim of the project is to create a college campus-like environment, with classrooms, meeting areas, and an outdoor pavilion, and the building will be located across from the existing Campus Training Center (CTC). The new training center will also host BMW’s apprenticeship program, BMW Scholars.
“We applaud BMW for their continued investment in our state’s biggest asset—our workforce,” said South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “Since 1992, BMW has shown their steadfast commitment to not only South Carolina, but to our people as well. This new training center will ensure BMW technicians are highly trained and skilled in the latest automotive technologies and are prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”
The location and layout of the new training center in relation to other buildings on the BMW campus is also of note. “Our recruiting and training concept is very stimulating and interesting,” added Christine Petrasch, vice president of human resources for BMW Manufacturing. “We want to create a ‘college campus’ atmosphere around the new building with pathways and meeting places. As newly hired associates walk out of the CTC, they see the new training center in front of them and behind that, they see the BMW plant where they will work. It will be very inspiring.”
Interior design and functionality are also integral components of the project: “The technical training areas will have a flexible classroom design to adapt to multiple learning environments,” explained Paul Sinanian, manager for talent management and training. “Training robots identical to those inside the BMW plant will be placed on moveable pallets so they can be relocated depending on the learning situation. Classrooms will be equipped with the utilities and IT networking needed for teaching robotics, electrical, mechanical, engine, and automotive training.”
Construction of the new training center follows an investment of $10,000,000 to add 86,000 square feet worth of battery production space to the factory floor at Group Plant Spartanburg in 2019, and another $10,000,000 to initiate production of PHEV versions of the X5 and X3 at the facility. BMW Group Plant Spartanburg is the largest manufacturing site within BMW’s global decentralized production network, and produces the brand’s best selling X SAVs including the X3, X5, and X7, among others. The plant, which employs a staff of more than 11,000, has daily output capacity of up to 1,500 vehicles, and can produce 450,000 BMWs a year. Since its opening in 1992, more than 5,000,000 BMWs have been produced in Spartanburg. In 2020 for the seventh straight year, BMW Manufacturing was the largest U.S. vehicle exporter by value.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]