Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) has launched a partnership with Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC) in Louisville, Kentucky to tackle the critical shortage of qualified automotive technicians in America.

"The Mercedes-Benz partnership with JCTC will help to meet a critical and immediate need for qualified, skilled automotive technicians," said Kentucky Governor, Matt Bevin. "This collaboration is a [n] addition to the Commonwealth's registered apprenticeship programmes.

"High-tech educational training programmes such as this one are strengthening Kentucky's workforce and positioning our citizens and businesses for sustained success."

The JCTC educational programme prepares students to become a level one Mercedes-Benz Certified Systems Technician in 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 programme.

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

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 programme certified by US Department of Labour, Department of Veterans Affairs and National Association of State Approving Agencies.

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

"The need for educational programmes like these are important as we face an acute shortage of qualified technicians," said MBUSA VP, Customer Service, 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 "The shortage largely comes from the outdated image of mechanics and increase in demand.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 programmes like the ones at JCTC are critical to help close this technician gap."