BMW/MINI:BMW of North America launched an expansion of its Service Technician Education Program last year. "We graduate about 360 students a year through STEP," says Gary Uyematsu, BMW of North America's national technical training manager. "I'd like to double that by 2020."
Two of the automaker's five training centers, in Spartanburg, S.C., and Woodcliff Lake, N.J., are to undergo expansions in 2019, when a center in Atlanta also is scheduled to open. BMW's center in Ontario, Calif., will add collision training in 2020.
BMW extended the STEP program to Mini last year. Lincoln Technical Institute, a for-profit educational provider, administers the Mini program in Grand Prairie, Texas.
FORD: Ford Motor Co. plans to meld its training and recruitment programs, including Automotive Student Service Educational Training and Ford Accelerated Credential Training, into a single program this year. The program will pair instruction at vocational schools and community colleges with hands-on training at dealerships.
Also this year, Ford will launch a network of placement specialists across the country, working with local high schools and dealerships to connect aspiring techs with educational opportunities.
INFINITI: Nissan North America has started a separate tech training program for Infiniti. The Infiniti Technician Training Academy uses a dedicated center on Universal Technical Institute's campus in Long Beach, Calif. The 18-week course is designed to give students 90 percent of the training of an Infiniti master technician.
JAGUAR LAND ROVER: One of the automaker's four North American training academies, at its Mahwah, N.J., headquarters, expanded this year to gain 50 percent more space.
TESLA:The automaker's START program, which debuted in February, offers paid internships to tech candidates. Successful applicants undergo a 12-week program to prepare them to work as service technicians at Tesla dealerships.
Four community colleges administer the program; the first classes graduated 23 students this spring. Tesla has added two partner schools to the program and plans to select two more by year end.
VOLVO: The automaker plans to launch a U.S. training academy, called Volvo University, next year. It will be in the Charleston, S.C., area, near Volvo's new assembly plant.