BMW MSTEP Program Helps Marine Corps Veteran Transition to Civilian Life


BMW MSTEP training program graduate Tanner Lambert, a Marine Corps veteran, has worked on cars his whole life.

“It began out of necessity,” Tanner said. “My family needed to save some money on repairs, so I started helping my dad.”

He began to enjoy repairing vehicles more as a teenager when he got better at it, but didn’t follow his passion for cars right after high school.

“I went straight into college, because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. But after three years, I just couldn’t afford it anymore. I decided to join the Marine Corps, knowing I’d have the GI Bill® to fall back on.”

Later, Tanner would find a way to gain new skills during his military service — and it didn’t cost him a dime.

Reigniting the Spark

Tanner was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, where he found a love for the beach and scuba diving. He worked as a photographer, putting his technician skills to the side for a few years. But an old BMW 330i, a gift from his dad when he returned to the United States, reignited Tanner’s love of working on vehicles.

Soon after, Tanner heard about the manufacturer-paid BMW MSTEP programs offered at Camp Pendleton, California, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.15 He wasn’t sure he would qualify since his military experience didn’t include technician training, but all those years helping his dad in the garage worked out better than he could have imagined.

“I had already planned to go to UTI with my GI Bill® after I finished serving, but then I heard about the MSTEP program, which I could finish before the end of my military contract,” Tanner said. “I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, so I applied and got accepted. When you think of quality training, you think of UTI. And when you think of BMW, you think of professionalism, quality and a standard of excellence. I wanted to be associated with those values.”

Navigating the Job Market

Tanner graduated from the program at Fort Bragg in fall of 2022 and took a trip with a fellow graduate to interview at dealerships in Florida, where he could find the sun and surf he’d been missing.

He applied at four BMW dealerships, receiving job offers from three of them. With a competitive salary and benefits package in hand and a location a few miles from the coast, Tanner started his career as a BMW technician at Ferman BMW in Palm Harbor, Florida, in November 2022.6

“When dealerships hire veterans, they’re getting somebody who has been in a leadership position. They know how to look out for themselves and others around them,” Tanner says. “I would absolutely recommend the BMW MSTEP program to transitioning service members. It’s an opportunity to put yourself ahead and it’s going to set you up for success immediately upon transitioning out of the service.”

BMW MSTEP Enrollment Open

For more information on the BMW MSTEP program, please contact April Rhodes, Universal Technical Institute’s Director of National Military Admissions, by calling her at (602) 740-1393 or by 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
6 ) UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
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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