View article as it appears on goupstate.com
After five successful years, the BMW Scholars Program is planning to expand from 60 students to 100 students.
Structured on an apprenticeship model used in Germany, the program has had 108 graduates since it began in 2011, all of whom have been offered full-time employment at BMW, according to spokesman Steve Wilson.
“Developing the future workforce is critical to the continued growth and success of our company,” stated Manfred Erlacher, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. “The BMW Scholars Program plays a key role in keeping this plant competitive. Each one of these talented new associates will be important to the daily operation and long-term success of our company.”
Spartanburg Community College is among three Upstate technical colleges that have partnered with BMW to offer the two-year program. Students are required to enroll in either automotive technology, equipment services, production or logistics/supply chain management.
The most recent class had 30 Scholar graduates, all of whom were hired by BMW.
SCC Director of Career Services Jennifer Little said several factors set this apprenticeship program apart from others.
She said many manufacturers have rotating shifts, which makes it tough on students to attend classes during the weekdays.
BMW allows the students to attend all classes, and work part-time up to 20 hours a week while working toward their two-year degree, she said.
Students spend their working time at the plant in rotations between the body shop, paint shop and assembly shop.
After graduation, they are likely to be offered a full-time job.
“It’s very successful — getting that opportunity in the field and being paid to learn additional things,” Little said.
She said the opportunity to work at a renowned company such as BMW, with its above-average pay and benefits, has even led students from out of state to enroll at SCC.
BMW notes that although it is the intention to offer full-time positions upon completion of the program, there is no obligation for continued employment at BMW.
Other technical school partners are Greenville Technical College and Tri-County Technical College.
Little said students interested in the Scholars Program should contact SCC at 592-4820.