BMW is expanding its partnership with Universal Technical Institute for the Military Service Technician Education Program (MSTEP) from a single location at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in Southern California to a second location at the Fort Bragg U.S. Army base in North Carolina. The announcement comes roughly three and a half years after the program was launched with the U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton, an operation which includes a workshop and training program located on the base itself. When instruction begins at the new Fort Bragg workshop, it will join a total of nine other locations in the U.S. that make up BMW’s broader Service Technician Education Program (STEP), which trains civilians for service careers with BMW.
“BMW is honored to be working with the U.S. Army, helping to provide service members with great professional opportunities to support their transition back into civilian life,” said Claus Eberhart, vice president, aftersales, BMW of North America. “The skillset these men and women are bringing to our dealerships is invaluable. Aside from their unwavering team spirit and discipline, many are already highly specialized in some of the most sophisticated technologies, giving them all the right foundations for a successful automotive career. We are proud to be able to give back to U.S. service members through our MSTEP program.”
BMW’s STEP program has produced more than 6,500 graduates from its inception, candidates which are strongly preferred by BMW dealerships nationwide. MSTEP trainees progress through a sixteen-week educational program that features a specialized, on-base curriculum which readies them, through the use of technical hands-on learning, for the diagnostics and technologies specialized to BMW. Although there are more than 7,000 current BMW technicians within the U.S. network, more are needed every year according to BMW, and a current shortage means demand is high for individuals who can service the more than 5,000,000 BMW Group vehicles on the road in the U.S.
“The Army’s Transition Assistance Program offers soldiers who are preparing to enter the civilian workforce the opportunity to learn or enhance their skills and knowledge in a career outside the military,” said Fort Bragg garrison commander Col. Scott Pence. “We are thankful for every opportunity provided to our service members that gives an extra advantage to be competitive in their search for a rewarding profession. There is no doubt that with the assistance of the Military Service Technician Education Program, our transitioning service members will be successful in finding employment in a trade they enjoy.”
“We’re honored to be supporting the brave men and women who serve this country, and to partner with a highly regarded manufacturer like BMW,” said Jerome Grant, president and CEO of Universal Technical Institute. “With the skills they gained in the military, and the hands-on training and the backing of BMW, a true industry innovator, these service members have a promising future. As these service members transition to civilian life, we are gratified that they will be offered jobs at BMW dealers.”
The expansion of BMW MSTEP from a single location follows the announcement of construction of a new training center on the grounds of BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina earlier this year, and the opening of a new BMW STEP training center in nearby Greer in 2019.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]