BMW Manufacturing Co. announces expansion of its Scholars program

The Spartanburg County-based automaker announced Wednesday, Jan. 31, it plans to expand its BMW Scholars program by doubling the number of apprentices to 200 and adding Piedmont Technical College as its fourth education partner.

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Photo by Will Crooks.

BMW Manufacturing Co. will grow its talent pipeline.

The Spartanburg County-based automaker announced Wednesday, Jan. 31, it plans to expand its BMW Scholars program by doubling the number of apprentices to 200 and adding Piedmont Technical College of Greenwood as its fourth education partner.

“Technology is constantly changing in the automotive industry,” said Knudt Flor, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co., in a statement. “Now more than ever, we must invest in highly skilled workers who can solve problems. Investing in BMW Scholars allows us to develop a pool of talented men and women who will help sustain the future of BMW.”

BMW launched the program in 2011 in partnership with Spartanburg Community College, Greenville Technical College, and Tri-County Technical College.

The two-year program was initially set up to enroll 35 students per year.

BMW expanded that number to 100 in 2016.

Since its inception, the program has produced six graduating classes with 138 scholars. Each scholar has been offered full-time employment at the plant, BMW said.

The program enables students to attend class full-time and work at the plant near Greer for 20 to 25 hours per week.

BMW covers the cost of tuition and books, provides health care benefits, and pays students for their work at the plant.

“Working with our education partners we are able to build the skilled workforce that BMW needs,” said Ryan Childers, department manager for talent programs at BMW, in a statement. “Ten or more years ago, you might have a mechanic, an electrician, and a robotics person all employed in a manufacturing environment. Now we need all those skills in one person. With advanced manufacturing and the new economy, that’s what the market demands.”

Persons interested in the BMW Scholars program are asked to apply via one of the four education partners:

-Spartanburg Community College: Jennifer Little, 864-592-4808, littlej@sccsc.edu

-Greenville Technical College: Susan Gasque, 864-250-8105, susan.gasque@gvltec.edu

-Tri-County Technical College: Cheryl Garrison, 864-646-1573, cgarris3@tctc.edu

-Piedmont Technical College: Chris Lipp, 864-682-3702, lipp.c@ptc.edu; Charles Dixon, 864-941-8656, dixon.c@ptc.edu

BMW said students must study in one of a few specific areas, including “automotive technology, robotics/mechatronics/industrial maintenance, mechanical or electrical engineering, logistics/supply chain management, production associate technology, or other related manufacturing fields.”

Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.8 while in the program, the company said.

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