BMW and UTI Plan to Combat Labor Shortages With Service Members

UTI Profile Image Universal Technical Institute Jul 6, 2018 ·

UTI recently partnered with BMW of North America to support their new initiative that leverages the discipline and work ethic of U.S. Marines to produce specialized automotive technicians who will help relieve the labor shortage.

The United States is a country on the move. Vehicles pack busy streets, freeways, and highways. Close to half the country’s material goods are shipped long distances in diesel transport vehicles. Industries are growing in all directions, including high into the air and deep into the earth.

And there are no signs of stopping anytime soon.

However, America is currently being forced to slow down. Businesses that should be thriving in these economic conditions can’t grow due to a lack of skilled workers such as machinists, welders, and auto and diesel technicians.

There are a variety of factors contributing to the lack of skilled workers. Among them is a societal emphasis on four-year college degrees and the devaluation of technical education.

This could be due to the misconception that only a college degree guarantees a steady career. The opposite seems to be true as industries scramble to hire skilled laborers.

Universal Technical Institute has been well aware of the labor shortage, and has tried to minimize its effects by supplying the transportation and construction industries with highly trained technicians.

Clearly, a greater effort is required if American businesses are to reach their full potential.

Technicians working on a break drum.


The BMW MSTEP (Military Service Technician Education Program) provides exclusive training to active-duty military personnel residing at Camp Pendleton.

The 16-week course teaches students how to diagnose and service premium vehicles, and provides them with hours of hands-on training under the hood of a BMW.

BMW vehicles require specialized technicians with in-depth knowledge because they are some of the most advanced driving machines on the road.

MSTEP brings students up to speed with the latest in engine technology and mechanics. They learn the manufacturer-approved process for disassembling and reassembling high-performance engines, and the fundamentals that keep them running smoothly.

But the engine is just a component of the modern BMW. Tech knowledge in MSTEP is required to access and interpret BMW’s computer codes, and diagnose and repair electrical systems.

During the program, BMW will actively seek to help MSTEP students get job interviews at BMW dealerships.

MSTEP graduates will be recognized as Member Level BMW technicians and earn factory credentials, and though jobs are never guaranteed, that makes them suitable candidates for any BMW service center or dealership.

Technician screwing in something in an engine block.

Relieving the skilled labor shortage

At a celebration honoring the beginning of the three-way partnership between UTI, BMW and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, UTI President and CEO Kim McWaters enthusiastically stated that “with the transportation industry’s strong demand for highly skilled and trained talent, there has never been a better time to be an automotive technician.”

The benefits of MSTEP are far-reaching. It provides active military members a chance to learn a marketable skill that could jump-start their civilian careers after they’ve served their tours of duty.

Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Killea, commanding general for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, recognized the value in helping “transitioning service members prepare for a successful career outside of the military ... and find employment as BMW technicians.”

In addition, it qualifies them to work with a premium car brand, making them invaluable resources for BMW service centers and dealerships.

BMW of North America is finding creative ways to solve the labor shortage, and they are hopeful that the MSTEP program will supply their various locations with specialized technicians and bring the military work ethic and strength to BMW.

“The skill set these men and women will bring to our dealerships is invaluable. Aside from their unwavering team spirit and discipline, many are already highly specialized in some of the most sophisticated technologies, giving them all the right foundations for a successful automotive career,” said Bernard Kuhnt, president and CEO of BMW of North America.
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