Bevill State Community College (BSCC) and Mercedes-Benz US International, Inc., announced a new partnership on Thursday, December 6, 2018, officially kicking off a Mercedes-Benz Tech Co-Op Program.
Bevill State Community College’s Automotive Technology students will be eligible to apply for the co-op program. Students accepted into the Mercedes-Benz Co-Op program will complete semester coursework at Bevill State during the fall and spring semesters and work full-time at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance throughout the summer semesters.
“We have demands for automotive technology students, and Bevill State has a fantastic reputation. That’s why I’m excited to announce that Mercedes-Benz International is partnering with Bevill State to create this tech program,” said Rolf Wrona, Vice-President of Human Resources at Mercedes-Benz US International. “This is a great opportunity for students. You can get the quality education at Bevill State and the quality work experience at Mercedes-Benz.”
BSCC students who take advantage of the program will earn $16 an hour during the first summer at the Mercedes-Benz plant in addition to having a $400 housing allowance in the Tuscaloosa area. They’ll earn $17 per hour and the housing allowance during the second summer of work. Tuition assistance is provided to students based upon their current GPA’s, and students are eligible for full-time employment at Mercedes-Benz upon completion of the program.
“The State of Alabama is bustling at this time. The workforce is growing, and there is a need for workers,” Dr. Kim Ennis, president of BSCC, said. “But there is an even bigger need for people in the pipeline to become those workers. That is why programs such as this are vital. It’s partnerships like the one between Mercedes-Benz and Bevill State that will be able to develop a workforce for the State of Alabama.”
Bevill State has Automotive Technology programs on both the Hamilton and Sumiton campuses. Launch events for the Mercedes-Benz Co-Op Program were held on each of these campuses on Thursday. During the events, Mercedes-Benz announced the donation of two new Mercedes GLE class vehicles for Bevill State’s Auto Technology program to use for instructional training. Each of those campuses received a car.
“We believe it’s very important our students get hands-on experience with our products. We’re very excited to form this partnership and we’re looking forward to the tremendous opportunities that will exist for the students, Bevill State and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International,” Wrona said. “The technology in our cars will continue to further develop over time. With that, one of our biggest challenges is to have a workforce that can understand and work at the pace that technology is moving.”
Both launch events attracted elected representatives at the state and local level, including Senator Greg Reed, Representative Kyle South, and Representative Tracy Estes. Also in attendance were economic development leadership, representatives from the Alabama Community College System (ACCS), Bevill State faculty, staff and students, and local K-12 education leadership.
Registration is underway for Spring Semester at Bevill State Community College. Classes begin Jan. 7. For more information, visit www.bscc.edu.