Mercedes-Benz USA faces acute shortage of qualified technicians, expands training programs

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 14 Aug 2018


In end-2017, MBUSA rolled out the pilot of a new augmented reality application known as 'Ask Mercedes' that allows customers to explore features of their vehicle in an engaging and intuitive way.

The Atlanta-headquartered Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), which is facing a shortage of qualified technicians, continues to expand its technician training and development programs to tackle the critical shortage of qualified automotive technicians in the U.S.

The luxury automotive manufacturer, which recently became the first to establish a Registered Apprenticeship Program for veterans through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, has launched a partnership with Jefferson Community & Technical College (JCTC) in Louisville, Kentucky. This partnership is the latest addition to a growing number of technician education programs offered by MBUSA.

Announced at a ribbon cutting ceremony that included remarks by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, Kentucky Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Derrick Ramsey, Mayor of Louisville Greg Fischer and MBUSA Vice-President of Customer Service, Christian Treiber. The partnership is the first-of-its-kind in the state and an important addition to the curriculum at JCTC.

"The Mercedes-Benz partnership with JCTC will help to meet a critical and immediate need for qualified, skilled automotive technicians," said Governor Bevin. "This innovative collaboration with an iconic, world-class company is a perfect addition to the Commonwealth's top-notch registered apprenticeship programs. High-tech, cutting-edge educational training programs such as this one are strengthening Kentucky's workforce and positioning our citizens and businesses for sustained success."

The JCTC educational program prepares students to become a level one Mercedes-Benz Certified Systems Technician in just three semesters. Students will train on Mercedes-Benz vehicles, intern at a Mercedes-Benz dealership and have the opportunity to gain full-time employment after completing the program.

"The new Mercedes-Benz and Jefferson partnership is where the rubber meets the road," said JCTC president Dr. Ty J. Handy. "Employers in the Louisville area depend on us to grow the workforce in order to fill thousands of vacant positions. This program answers that call."

This is the most recent example of MBUSA's efforts to elevate technician training and meet the needs of its dealerships across the USA. The company currently offers Mercedes-Benz DRIVE, which became part of the government's National Apprenticeship System in 2017 and is the first automotive dealership-focused training program certified by U.S. Department of Labor, Department of Veterans Affairs and National Association of State Approving Agencies.

Offered to veterans and nonveterans, the technician training is available with nearly 400 seats in locations across the country including Long Beach, Calif.; Dallas, Texas; Jacksonville, Fla.; and coming in 2019, Robbinsville, N.J. MBUSA also offers an ongoing training program with Gwinnett Technical College, one of Georgia's largest technical colleges, with plans to introduce more in the coming years.

"The need for educational programs like these are important as we face an acute shortage of qualified technicians," said Christian Treiber. "The shortage largely comes from the outdated image of mechanics and increase in demand. Today's mechanics must now have a completely different skillset; they are technologists that cater to increasingly complex vehicles. Training programs like the ones at JCTC are critical to help close this technician gap."  

Mercedes-Benz USA is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States.  MBUSA has 15 model lines ranging from the sporty CLA-Class four-door coupe to the flagship S-Class and the Mercedes-AMG GT R. The new Sprinter will be available by the end of 2018 in the US market.