Spartanburg, S.C. Workforce development is one of the most important challenges in today’s business environment. BMW Manufacturing has a robust talent and training program to recruit, retain, and develop associates. On June 21, BMW Manufacturing held graduation ceremonies for its 11th class of BMW Scholars. The 44 Scholars completed their course work and training requirements and were officially offered full-time jobs at BMW Plant Spartanburg. In addition, 13 high school seniors successfully completed the inaugural Rising Scholars program.
“Developing and sustaining a skilled workforce is critical if companies want to stay competitive in the digitalization of manufacturing technology,” said Sherry McCraw, vice president of Human Resources, BMW Manufacturing. “The BMW Scholars program allows us to recruit, train, and grow our talent so these associates can make an immediate impact in the company.”
In this class, 34 associates completed the traditional Scholars track, where they worked part-time at the BMW plant and earned their two-year associate degree at one of the program’s four technical college education partners. Ten associates completed the “Fast Track,” having previously earned an associate degree and completed an aggressive one-year training program at BMW. These Scholar graduates will now work in the areas of Automotive Technology, Equipment Services (such as mechatronics), Production, Logistics/Supply Chain Management, and Computer Technology.
“Working with our education partners, we are able to build the skilled workforce that BMW needs,” said Paul Sinanian, manager for Talent Programs and Training, BMW Manufacturing. “This is an exciting time for these students to know when they complete their education and training requirements, they have a well-paying job waiting for them.”
During the graduation ceremony, Dorian Thomas, valedictorian of the BMW Scholars class of 2022, encouraged fellow graduates to continue to pursue excellence: “When life throws everything it has at you and everything seems like an uphill struggle, keep your head held high, push through with pride, and imagine what the view will be when you reach the top.”
Started in 2010, BMW Scholars is an apprenticeship program for high school graduates enrolled in career paths related to manufacturing technology. BMW 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 offers tuition assistance, provides healthcare benefits, and pays students for their work at BMW. The program has produced more than 360 graduates with most every person offered a job at BMW Manufacturing.
Since 1992, the BMW Group has invested nearly $12 billion in its South Carolina operations. BMW Manufacturing is the largest BMW Group plant in the world, producing more than 1,500 vehicles each day and 433,810 vehicles in 2021, a record. The plant exports nearly 60 percent of its vehicles to about 120 global markets. For eight consecutive years, it has been the largest exporter by value in the United States. The model portfolio includes five top-selling BMW X models, four Motorsport X models, and two plug-in hybrid electric vehicle X models. The all-new BMW XM, the first electrified high-performance hybrid model in the BMW M portfolio, will begin production in late 2022. The factory has an annual production capacity of up to 450,000 vehicles and employs more than 11,000 people.