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BMW Partners With Veterans and Camp Pendleton

A new program is helping our Nation’s Veteran’s get jobs… AND it’s helping the automotive service labor shortage at the same time.

BMW of North America and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton are supporting a new initiative using the work ethic of U.S. Marines to “produce specialized automotive technicians who will help relieve the labor shortage.”

The automotive Industry is growing in every direction with no signs of stopping - but the country is being forced to slow its progress. Why? Though economic conditions are good, there’s a lack of skilled workers (e.g. machinists, welders, auto/diesel technicians).

One potential reason for the shortage is the societal emphasis on four-year college degrees as the only way to guarantee a steady career, and the devaluation of a technical education. Still, industries are scrambling to hire technical skilled laborers.

Also involved with this initiative is the Universal Technical Institute. UTI is aware of the labor shortage and is trying to counteract it by supplying the transportation and construction industries with highly trained technicians.

Combined with the BMW Military Service Technician Education Program (MSTEP), a 16-week program providing exclusive training to active-duty personnel at Camp Pendleton, these Marines are helping the auto industry.

The course includes how to diagnose and service premium vehicles, and provides personnel with hours of hands-on training working under a BMW’s hood. BMW’s require specialized technicians with in-depth knowledge, as they are some of the most advanced vehicles on the road.

MSTEP teaches students the latest in engine tech and mechanics, as well as manufacturer-approved processes for disassembly and reassembly of high-performance engines and other fundamentals to keep the vehicles running smoothly.

The engine is just one component taught; MSTEP also teaches its students how to access and interpret BMW computer codes, and how to diagnose and repair electrical problems.

During the program, BMW will actively help students get job interviews at its dealerships. Program graduates are recognized as Member Level BMW technicians and earn factory credentials. Jobs are not guaranteed, but the accolades make them suitable candidates to work at any BMW service center or dealership.

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,” UTI President and CEO Kim McWaters said at a celebration honoring the three-way partnership.

MSTEP provides military personnel with a chance to learn a marketable skill they can use to build their civilian careers after they’ve served their tours of duty, qualifying them to work for a premium car brand and making them invaluable resources for BMW service centers and dealerships.

Brigadier General Kevin J. Killea, commanding general for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, said he recognized the value in MSTEP helping “transitioning service members prepare for a successful career outside of the military ... and find employment as BMW technicians.”

BMW of North America, trying to find creative ways to solve the current labor shortage, is hoping MSTEP will help supply its dealerships and service centers with specialized technicians with military work ethic and strength.

“The skill set these men and women will bring to our dealerships is invaluable,” said Bernard Kuhnt, president and CEO of BMW of North America. “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.”

Do you think this will help the labor shortage? Would you hire soldiers from a program like this?

 

Amanda Gordon

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