ORLANDO, Fla. - BMW of North America Inc. has joined with a private technical school to create a graduate school for entry-level BMW service technicians.
Top graduates of the automotive technical school programs have the chance to receive additional training through BMW's Service Technician Education Program administered by Universal Technical Institute.
The Service Technician Education Pro-gram is six months of training in the repair, maintenance and technology of BMWs. All 27 graduates of the 1997 class had job offers from BMW dealerships before the sessions ended. Starting salaries range from $15 to $17 an hour.
Victor Doolan, president of BMW of North America, said the company has added value to its cars through improved technology. That, coupled with BMW's 130 percent sales increase over the last six years and its three-year bumper-to-bumper new-car warranty, has created a need for more qualified technicians.
'Our cars are increasingly complex; they have to be (serviced) by experts,' said Doolan, who was on hand to celebrate the opening of the program May 11 at Universal Technical Institute's Orlando, Fla., campus.
BMW expects 160 students to graduate from the program by year end.
Students who enter the program must have completed Universal's basic technician program, maintained an average score of 90 percent or better and have excellent attendance.
BMW provides students with full scholarships and helps them find jobs when they complete the course. A dealer who hires a graduate reimburses BMW $7,500 for the training.
The Service Technician Education Pro-gram is offered at Universal Technical Institute's Phoenix and Orlando campuses. Another campus will open in Bergen County, N.J., this year.