Plant Spartanburg
Rising Scholars 8/9/21 - File: 080821GR56
BMW Manufacturing Expands Scholars Program To Include Pre-Apprenticeship Training for High School Seniors.

Spartanburg, S.C.  BMW Manufacturing announced today that it will expand its popular BMW Scholars Program to include two additional opportunities: BMW Rising Scholars and BMW Fast Track.

BMW Rising Scholars: The BMW Rising Scholars Program allows high school seniors to work part-time at BMW Manufacturing while attending high school and a participating Career and Technical Education (CATE) center. These students will work primarily at the BMW Training and Development Center 15 hours per week with starting pay at $12 per hour. The first class of Rising Scholars, who will start the program later this month, were announced today in a ceremony at the BMW Zentrum. Just like the BMW Scholars Program, Rising Scholars is registered as an Apprenticeship Program with U.S. Department of Labor.

BMW Fast Track: In the BMW Fast Track Program, BMW will hire recent graduates or experienced individuals who already have an associate degree in a technical field such as mechatronics or automotive technology. They will enter an aggressive training program using the well-established BMW Scholars curriculum. These candidates will train 40 hours a week instead of the normal 20 hours.

“The Rising Scholars and Fast Track programs are additional tools that expand our workforce development strategy,” said Knudt Flor, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. “This new pipeline of talent will help us fulfill our long-term goals. With the digitalization of manufacturing technology, it makes sense for us to grow and recruit additional talent as we prepare for our future.”

During the Zentrum ceremony, the 15 new Rising Scholars heard from South Carolina Lt. Governor Pamela Evette; Dr. Tim Hardee, president of the SC Technical College System; and Knudt Flor, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. Each Rising Scholar then signed their offer letter as family members looked on. The group also enjoyed a guided tour of the X3/X4 Assembly Hall and “hot laps” at the BMW Performance Center.

“Our local career centers do a great job in educating students,” said Paul Sinanian, manager for Talent Programs and Training. “These high school seniors were chosen because of their strong potential and their good problem-solving and math skills. Rising Scholars is a wonderful opportunity for them to acquire technical skills in an advanced manufacturing setting and get paid to learn.”

The first class of BMW Rising Scholars are Edward Falcon-Lugo, J. Harley Bonds Career Center; Eric Escobar-Baltazar and Amaya Hines, Donaldson Career Center; Richard Koppen, Caden Louk, and Christian Shenton, Enoree Career Center; Mitch Gray and Jorge Hernandez Jaco, Golden Strip Career and Technology Center; Evan Morgan and Darius Thompson, Daniel Morgan Technology Center; Kristopher Melton, Ethan Capizzo, and Jaqueline Ocampo, RD Anderson Applied Technology Center; Chayanne Osorio and Javier Rodriguez, Swofford Career Center.

After successful completion of the Rising Scholars program, the students will receive a certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor and be candidates for the BMW Scholars Program.

Started in 2010, BMW Scholars is an apprenticeship program for high school graduates enrolled in career paths related to manufacturing technology. BMW currently partners with four area technical colleges: Spartanburg Community College, Greenville Technical College, Tri-County Technical College and Piedmont Technical College. 

In the program, students attend class full-time and work at the BMW plant for 20 – 25 hours per week. BMW pays $1,500 towards the cost of tuition and books, provides healthcare benefits and pays students for their work at BMW. The program has produced 331 graduates with most every person offered a job at BMW Manufacturing. 


“We applaud BMW for their continued investment in our state’s biggest asset – our workforce,” said South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “Since 1992, BMW has shown their steadfast commitment to not only South Carolina, but to our people as well. This new training center will ensure BMW technicians are highly trained and skilled in the latest automotive technologies and are prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”


The new training center will be built across from the existing Campus Training Center (CTC). The idea is to connect recruiting, hiring, training and innovation all in one location.


“Our recruiting and training concept is very stimulating and interesting,” said Christine Petrasch, vice president of Human Resources for BMW Manufacturing. “We want to create a ‘college 

Please Note:

To the extent that historical press releases reference BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC as the manufacturer of certain X model vehicles, the referenced vehicles are manufactured in South Carolina with a combination of U.S. origin and imported parts and components.