Lawson State, Mercedes-Benz Partner to Help Automotive Industry Talent Pipeline - Community College News Now
Higher Education News and Jobs

Lawson State, Mercedes-Benz Partner to Help Automotive Industry Talent Pipeline



by Monica Levitan

Lawson State Community College has partnered with Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc. (MBUSI) to launch a new certificate program as part of an effort to add to the automotive industry talent pipeline. Applications for the Mercedes Tech Certificate program are now open.

“We want to increase the skill level of entry level production team members and to help them get a jump start on being future leaders in our production operations,” said outgoing president and CEO of MBUSI Jason Hoff. “Lawson is a welcome addition to our growing number of community colleges helping to grow our future workforce.”

Students participating in the new program will attend classes Monday through Wednesday and work at the Mercedes plant on Thursdays and Fridays for four semesters, according to Birmingham Business Journal.

“This is a welcome partnership for Lawson State with Mercedes-Benz U.S. International and represents a significant bridge in educational resources and workforce development for our students,” Lawson president Dr. Perry W. Ward said.

Under the certificate program, Mercedes will supply two vehicles to the community college. Last year, the company suppled production trial vehicles to Wallace State, Bevill State and Shelton State community colleges for similar programs.

This partnership program comes at a period where industry and government leaders are seeking to meet workforce needs in the region.

Deputy director of talent development at the city of Birmingham’s Office of Innovation and Economic Opportunity Rachel Harmon said the partnership is significant because Mercedes is creating more training and employment opportunities for people closer to the city.

“It’s a huge partnership for Lawson and for Mercedes to be able to access an additional labor market within the state of Alabama,” Harmon said. “We’re really excited about the ability of more residents from our city and from the area to be able to join a team that is so thoughtful about their employees — the benefits that they have access to, their ability to have upward mobility within the firm.”