BMW opened a new $20 million training center today with a goal of promoting creative learning, fostering innovation and advancing technical skills among the company's North American workforce in a changing automotive industry.
The 68,000-square-foot training center includes classrooms for professional development and technical training, an amphitheater and an outdoor meeting and workspace that includes wireless capabilities.
The center is near the manufacturing plant off S.C. Highway 101 in Greer. It will be the North American training hub for all future technologies for BMW associates tasked with mastering state-of-the-art skills to stay ahead of industry standards, according to a news release.
“Our associates are rising to the challenge to make the BMW Group electric, digital and circular,” Ilka Horstmeier, a member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said in the news release. She also is director for people and real estate, labor relations. “This new training center will give the entire Plant Spartanburg team the environment to learn and grow their careers and meet the demands of our customers worldwide Through training in digitalization and future technologies, we will ensure that the BMW Group remains the leader in mobility and is an attractive workplace for future generations.”
With 40 functional learning spaces, the center’s inside areas include space for hands-on vocational training such as welding, metal fabrication and machine tools, as well an advanced technical training for robotics and controls, mechatronics and automotive technology. The robotics area is designed for flexibility with robot cells on self-contained pallets that can be moved and plugged in to overhead electrical outlets.
“The contributions our associates make to BMW are invaluable,” BMW Manufacturing CEO and President Robert Engelhorn said in the news release. “We want to build a culture of empowerment and provide our associates with the right tools and training so they can continue to be successful. When they succeed, BMW succeeds.”
Along with professional development and leadership training areas, the flexibility includes defined workspace for augmented and virtual reality training and for advanced manufacturing in emerging technologies such as 3D printing and laser welding, the release said. “There also is an innovation room where associates have a safe space to think, collaborate and create a physical representation of their ideas.
“We’ve crafted an inspiring learning environment that provides the foundational elements for a full and satisfying career at BMW,” Shery McCraw, vice president of human resources, said in the release. Here is also more complex training in areas such as advanced manufacturing and innovative future technologies that provide our associates with the unique skill sets that ensure BMW will be successful in the future.”
The new training center will be home of the BMW Scholars, Plant Spartanburg’s apprenticeship program for high school graduates pursuing an associate degree; BMW Rising Scholars, the apprenticeship program for high school seniors; Gen Next, a cooperative and internship program for university students; and PACE, Professional Accelerated Cross-Functional Experience, a rotational program for professionals.
BMW opened the training center just eight days after opening a $100 million logistics center.