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BMW and UTI Offer MSTEP Program for Transitioning Military Members

Nov 8, 2018 ·

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There are plenty of reasons why the automotive industry is a great fit for many military service members. The military utilizes some of the world's most complex and advanced vehicles and technology. Service members must rely on teamwork to achieve objectives. And adeptly working with one's hands is one of the most essential duties of most military service members. 

There is also an automotive technician shortage, making auto technicians in demand around the country. To meet this growing demand and give military service members transitioning out of service the opportunity to enter a promising career that utilizes their skills, BMW of North America and Universal Technical Institute (UTI) have teamed up to open a technician training facility at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California. 

The 16-week BMW MSTEP (Military Service Technician Education Program) is the first training program of its kind offered by a premium automotive manufacturer for military service members directly on a U.S. military base. The program is open to all men and women transitioning out of the military, no matter what branch the transitioning military service member is in.

Participants can complete the program while still on active duty, as long as their commanders approve they can travel to Camp Pendleton, get the training and move into a job as soon as they are officially out of the military.

“As a former Marine, I understand and appreciate the sacrifices our veterans make in support of this great nation,” says John Decoteau III, vice president of campus and military admissions at UTI. “What better way to give back than providing our veterans an edge when they rejoin the civilian workforce and providing the opportunity to take care of their families in respectable ways?”

How the BMW MSTEP Program Works

The BMW MSTEP program is limited to nine students per group, which provides them with plenty of individualized attention and training. The first students for the BMW MSTEP program entered class in February 2018, and new cohorts have since followed. Students learn BMW-specific, hands-on technical training in a workshop setting. 

Students from the MSTEP Program for transitioning military members offered by BMW and Universal Technical Institute


Like the BMW STEP program offered at UTI’s Avondale, Arizona, and Orlando, Florida, campuses, the BMW MSTEP program is a manufacturer-paid program.15 Upon completion of the BMW MSTEP program, graduates are awarded BMW Member Level technician status.

During the BMW MSTEP program, students learn skills including:

  • Workshop technology
  • Shop safety
  • Basic hand skills
  • Proper tool usage
  • BMW inspection, diagnostic and maintenance procedures
  • Electrical system concepts
  • Brake system fundamentals

Candidates who are considered for the program must be within six months of their separation dates from the military. One of the program expectations is that upon graduation, the transitioning military member will begin work at one of the more than 450 BMW dealerships nationwide within 90 days of graduation or separation from the military.11

Other requirements for the BMW MSTEP program include:

  • The military service member anticipates an honorable discharge with no flags or personnel actions.
  • The military service member has a clean motor vehicle record and is insurable for all states where licensed.
  • The military service member must provide a commander support letter dedicating the military member to training 5 days a week for 16 consecutive weeks.

After applying for the program, candidates in the screening and interview process must identify where they will be willing to work following graduation. Halfway through the training, UTI and BMW staff will start working with each student to identify the location where they prefer to work.1

A Win All Around

Decoteau says when UTI was in the preliminary stages of putting together a Department of Defense career skills program, BMW immediately stepped forward, seeing the value veterans already bring to their organization at their dealerships around the country. 

“Technicians are in high demand, as we are facing one of the largest technician shortages in decades,” Decoteau says. “I have seen firsthand there is a high demand for veteran technicians due to the leadership, and transferrable and intangible skills they bring to the table."

Qualities like the desire to be a team player, a positive professional attitude and excellent interpersonal skills are just a few of the characteristics that help veterans make a positive contribution to the automotive industry. With a leading manufacturer like BMW leading the way to provide transitioning military members a valuable professional opportunity with a UTI education, military members in the program have plenty to look forward to after transitioning.

For more information on the BMW MSTEP program, please contact April Rhodes, UTI’s Director of National Military Admissions by calling (602) 740-1393 or emailing her

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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

11) See program details for eligibility requirements and conditions that may apply.

15) Manufacturer-paid advanced training programs are conducted by UTI on behalf of manufacturers who determine acceptance criteria and conditions. These programs are not part of UTI’s accreditation. Programs available at select locations.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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