Artist’s drawing of the exterior view of the new BMW Training Center. (Little Diversified Architectural Consulting rendering)
Officials of BMW Manufacturing, along with South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, broke ground for a new $20 million, 67,000 sq.-ft. training center on the BMW campus in Spartanburg County.
The investment continues the German automaker's 2017 commitment to invest $200 million over five years into workforce training, company officials said.
BMW maintains a strong manufacturing presence in the United States with its sprawling Spartanburg assembly factory. The campus is BMW's largest global plant by volume and builds the X-Series lineup of SUVs for export around the world.
When completed in the summer of 2022, the new training facility will have multiple classrooms for both professional development and technical training, an outdoor amphitheater, and a unique concept of outdoor meeting and workspace that includes wireless capabilities, the officials said.
The new training center will replace the current BMW Training and Development Center (TDC) on Brockman-McClimon Road, which has been operating for more than 27 years.
Crews have begun construction of the new facility across from the existing BMW Campus Training Center (CTC). The idea is to connect recruiting, hiring, training and innovation all in one location, BMW officials said.
"The most important investment for BMW is our people. Our associates are the key to BMW's success," said Knudt Flor, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. "The rapid pace of digitalization, electrification, artificial intelligence, and autonomous driving is transforming the automotive industry. Advancing the skills of our workforce is a priority for BMW. This training center will offer a learning environment that promotes creativity, fosters innovation, and improves technical training skills."
"We applaud BMW for [its] continued investment in our state's biggest asset – our workforce," said Hitt. "Since 1992, BMW has shown [its] steadfast commitment to not only South Carolina, but to our people as well. This new training center will ensure BMW technicians are highly trained and skilled in the latest automotive technologies and are prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow."
Christine Petrasch, BMW Manufacturing's vice president of human resources, added, "Our recruiting and training concept is very stimulating and interesting, "We want to create a ‘college campus' atmosphere around the new building with pathways and meeting places. As newly hired associates walk out of the CTC, they see the new training center in front of them and behind that, they see the BMW plant where they will work. It will be very inspiring."
The training center also will be home to BMW's apprenticeship program – BMW Scholars.
"The technical training areas will have a flexible classroom design to adapt to multiple learning environments," noted Paul Sinanian, manager of talent management and training. "Training robots identical to those inside the BMW plant will be placed on moveable pallets so they can be relocated depending on the learning situation. Classrooms will be equipped with the utilities and IT networking needed for teaching robotics, electrical, mechanical, engine and automotive training."
The auto manufacturer's TDC started as temporary office space for the first BMW associates in 1993. The following year, the first production associates used the building to assemble BMW 3 Series vehicles for training. For more than two decades, the TDC has been used for both technical and professional training.
BMW Manufacturing produces approximately 1,500 vehicles each day from the Spartanburg factory, exporting more than two-thirds of its models to 125 global markets.
The model portfolio includes five top-selling BMW X models, four Motorsport X models and two plug-in hybrid electric X models. The factory has a production capacity of up to 450,000 vehicles and employs more than 11,000 people.
With this massive capacity, the plant requires a highly trained workforce to run smoothly. BMW's new training facility will help to ensure that employees in Spartanburg have the knowledge they need.
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