BMW program helps students STEP into a career.

Training programs for the technicians who fix and repair cars at BMW and Mini dealerships are delivered through BMW Group University's STEP program, or Service Technician Education Program.

Gary Uyematsu, national technical training manager for BMW North America, said the company thinks of STEP as a career path. Some of the graduates remain technicians but grow to master level or leadership positions such as shop foreman. Others move to other parts of the company through sales or management.

Six versions of the STEP program are delivered at nine locations in North America. About 80% of the training takes place with hands on the equipment, he said. The other 20% takes place in a classroom.

The new centers in Spartanburg and Atlanta will train technicians in current and future vehicle technologies and electric drivetrains, according to a news release.

STEP is a 16-week BMW technical training program that accepts candidates from post-secondary automotive training programs and provides them with a hands-on BMW technical education for employment within the nationwide BMW dealer network.

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 release said.

"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", Claus Eberhart, vice president of BMW Aftersales, said in a news release. "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, which will allow students to fully engage with and immerse in the BMW brand via the company's flagship STEP training program. The new facility includes two technical training workshops as well as four paint and body training rooms. Claus called BMW's $10 million investment into the training location a demonstration of the company's ongoing commitment to South Carolina.

The 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.


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