The BMW MSTEP (Military Service Technician Education Program) will provide new career opportunities for service members transitioning from military service to civilian life. Created by BMW of North America, LLC, in partnership with Universal Technical Institute, this is the first time a premium automotive brand has opened a workshop and training program for military service members directly on a U.S. military base.
"BMW is honored to be working with the Marine Corps and helping provide service members with great professional opportunities to support their transition to civilian life," said Bernard Kuhnt, President and CEO of BMW of North America. "The skillset these men and women will bring 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. It is now our turn to serve them with MSTEP."
Classes for the first pilot group of nine students will officially begin on Feb. 26, 2018. The 16-week, BMW-specific technical education program features a specialized on-base curriculum and hours of hands-on technical training in a workshop setting. Students receive training on diagnostic paths and service technologies unique to the BMW brand.
"We're extremely proud to continue our support of the brave men and women who serve this country. We're also excited about this new chapter of our more than 20-year partnership with BMW," said Kim McWaters, president and CEO of Universal Technical Institute (UTI). "With the transportation industry's strong demand for highly skilled and trained talent, there has never been a better time to be an automotive technician. BMW has always been an innovative leader, and MSTEP is a powerful example of how UTI and our partners are working to bring quality hands-on education directly to students."
The program opens the door for transitioning service members to a promising future with the brand. Upon graduation, BMW assists the new technicians with employment at authorized U.S. dealers. There are currently more than 14,000 BMW technicians across the network, and more are needed every year---especially those trained by the company itself.
"We are proud to host this unique transition opportunity for our service members," stated Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Killea, the commanding general for Marine Corps Installations West - Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. "Programs such as MSTEP help our transitioning service members prepare for a successful career outside of the military, and we are excited to see them progress through the program and find employment as BMW technicians."
BMW MSTEP is an expansion of the company's existing efforts to address the technician shortage. With nearly 5 million BMW Group vehicles on the road in the U.S. and access to skilled technicians still limited, BMW has invested in several initiatives designed to engage, attract and find technicians for its network, including the original technician education program known as BMW STEP.
BMW STEP is the most comprehensive BMW technician development program in North America, taught in nine locations across the country and producing graduates that are preferred by dealers nationwide. The program chooses the finest talent from post-secondary automotive trainings and colleges. More than 3,500 STEP technicians have graduated from the program to date and represent part of the current BMW network technician total. Because of the growing demand for qualified candidates, the company plans to increase the number of STEP students it graduates every year from almost 450 in 2018 to about 800 graduates in 2020. BMW is furthering its efforts to sourcing the critical technician talent it needs while helping provide promising career opportunities for those who are looking.