October 4, 2011

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

Mercedes-Benz Partners with Shelton State

TUSCALOOSA – The Mercedes-Benz plant wants more Alabama students and their parents to realize there are lots of jobs in the auto industry – and more on the way as Mercedes-Benz brings more complex models to Alabama over the next few years. 


Plant leaders have enlisted Shelton State Community College as one of several partners to help get the word out, then to provide the training students will need to jump-start their career. Students interested in applying for the program must first apply for admission to Shelton State, and then apply to be accepted into the program.  The application process is getting underway this week and the 40 candidates will start the program in January 2012.


“Mechatronics is the integration of mechanics, electronics and computer science in the manufacturing of products,” said Markus Schaefer, president & CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI).  “With customers wanting more features in their vehicles, there’s no end in sight to the cutting edge technology and increasing vehicle complexity we expect in the future. We saw this program as one way to plant the seeds to help meet Alabama’s future workforce needs in the automotive industry, as well as support the knowledge and world-class skill sets necessary for today’s technologically advanced, modern vehicles.” 


Students who are accepted into the program must complete seven (7) terms of instruction at Shelton State, and upon successful completion of the coursework, they will earn an Associate degree in Applied Science-Industrial Electronics and receive a Short Certificate in Industrial Maintenenance. MBUSI will then offer the top 75 % of students who successfully complete the program a full-time job in production. 


Some of these students will get further opportunities for more technical certification in the Mercedes-Benz Industrial Mechatronics Maintenance Program, which will involve 18 months of extended training at MBUSI.  Students will be paid for work they perform at MBUSI during their studies at Shelton, and the students’ work assignments at MBUSI will reinforce the skills learned in the classroom. After the first term, MBUSI will offer assistance with tuition, fees and books for those who excel in the classroom.


"We are most excited about this new partnership with Mercedes and the opportunities it will afford our students,” said Shelton State Community College President Mark A. Heinrich, PhD.  “Mercedes' commitment to our community mirrors that of Shelton State - to provide high-quality employment training for all of west Alabama, filling current needs, and preparing students for the future." 


The new Mercedes-Benz Industrial Mechatronics program is part of a broad range of academic programs offered by the plant in partnership with Shelton, the University of Alabama and Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT) to grow and develop its existing and future workforce, including:


  Maintenance Apprenticeship Program: Comprehensive maintenance training program covering topics such as metallurgy, as well as teaching machine shop, welding skills and electrical skills.

• MBUSI Co-op Program- Cooperative education programs with Alabama four-year colleges and universities.

• Daimler CAReer Interns – A global professional training program for Engineering or Business students.

• Graduate Fellowship Program with the University of Alabama- Launched in the Fall of 2010 to cultivate management and leadership principles among graduate students in the manufacturing environment.


 “In the coming months, we also hope to announce details about an Automotive Technician program and a PhD program,” said Schaefer.  “With this new program at Shelton, we now have available a window of opportunity for students of all levels -- from recent high school grads to students getting their Masters’ degrees – to carve out their path in the automotive industry.”


For more information or to apply for the Mercedes-Benz Industrial Mechatronics program, candidates should visit www.sheltonstate.edu/admissions.aspx  and complete an on-line admission application.  Afterwards, students should visit  www.mbusi.com/mech and follow steps outlined. 




The Tuscaloosa plant was founded in 1995 and started production in 1997.


The Mercedes-Benz M-Class was the first product and has been built ever since the start of production in 1997, later joined by the SUVs of the GL- and R-Class. In 2010, the plant produced more than 125,000 vehicles and employed more than 2,800 team members at the end of the year. As of 2014, the Tuscaloosa plant will be one of the four global production locations of the successor generation of the current Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and will build these vehicles for the North American market. 

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