Auto Tech Partnering with Mercedes-Benz

College training initiative first in Midwest for automaker

Representatives from Mercedes-Benz USA and area Mercedes-Benz dealerships toured the labs of the Automotive Technician program at Dakota County Technical College Thursday, January 23, 2020. Along with other instructors in the program, Jeff Copeland welcomed the visitors to the college’s campus in Rosemount, Minnesota. The visit recognized a new training partnership between DCTC and Mercedes-Benz USA.

“We are very excited about our new partnership with Mercedes-Benz,” said Jeff, who provided an overview to the visitors on how Mercedes-Benz technician training has been integrated into his program’s curriculum. “We have been collaborating with Mercedes-Benz USA and Feldmann Imports for more than a year now to help develop and pilot this new training initiative. This educational partnership breaks the mold for how Mercedes-Benz has traditionally attracted and trained new technicians.”

Jeff added that Mercedes-Benz USA has been utilizing four training centers across the country to train technician candidates. The new model offers online curriculum to high school automotive programs with the idea to generate more interest in this career field in the younger population. Several colleges will be selected by Mercedes-Benz USA for educational partnerships nationally, and DCTC stands out as the first in the Midwest.

“Our partnership grants us access to the Mercedes-Benz online curriculum,” Jeff reported. “I will be teaching two instructor-led training (ILT) courses with additional courses already in development. We have received a factory Mercedes-Benz scan tool and lab scope along with numerous parts and tools for component testing.”

Jeff noted that Feldmann Imports and Mercedes-Benz of St. Paul have been superb about providing direct support to the Automotive Technician program. Rick Engman, shop foreman at Feldmann and Devin Frisch, shop foreman at Mercedes-Benz of St. Paul, have been coming out a couple of times a semester to provide hands-on training directly to Automotive Technician students.

“I have an excellent group of instructors and administrators around me here at DCTC,” Jeff said. “Together, we are continuing to push our automotive training in new and exciting directions. This new partnership with Mercedes-Benz lines up perfectly with our program goal to provide our students with the best training possible in the upper Midwest and at a reasonable cost. We have several new ideas and partnerships in the works, and we hope to begin implementing them before the end of 2020.”

Mercedes-Benz perspective…

“Mercedes-Benz has a tremendous need for trained technicians. Partnerships with colleges like DCTC are helping us meet that demand. The Automotive Technician program at DCTC has integrated Mercedes-Benz manufacturing training into the curriculum, and that training allows students to become registered Mercedes-Benz technicians. This is our first partnership with a college in the Midwest, and we hope to replicate the DCTC model across the region.”

Rick Pennick
Regional Parts & Service Process Manager
Central Region
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC

“We are having a harder time finding new techs because of the gap between my generation, Generation X, and generations that followed. Millennials and Centennials have not gone into the trade in the same numbers. Our partnership with DCTC can make a big difference. I’ve done a couple vehicle presentations in the Automotive Technician lab to demonstrate the kind of top-level training you need to become a Mercedes-Benz technician. We have been innovators since day one. ‘The Best or Nothing’ really is our standard.”

Devin Frisch
Shop Foreman
Mercedes-Benz of St. Paul

“Because of the complexity of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, we need high-functioning techs who can problem-solve at a very high level. Our techs are working on $200,000 cars with fiber-optics and radar-based systems. They need math skills, including geometry, highly advanced computer skills and an attention to detail. The DCTC Automotive Technician program has been a great source for qualified technicians—we have two recent graduates, four past graduates and three current students working in our shop.”

Rick Engman
Shop Foreman
Feldmann Imports

1993 DCTC GM ASEP Alumni

Student perspectives…

Julio Alvarado

Julio Alvarado

Automotive Technician student

Age: 21
Hometown: Lakeville, Minnesota
DCTC graduation date: May 2020

While going to college, Julio Alvarado works 30 hours a week as an express service technician at Mercedes-Benz of St. Paul. He started at the  dealership seven months ago and his plan is to continue working there after graduating from DCTC. His foremost goal is becoming a lead express service tech with supervisory responsibilities.

“The Automotive Technician program has given me the solid, general foundation I needed to start my career,” Julio said.

Favorite Mercedes-Benz vehicle: AMG C 63 S Coupe

Jason Lewandowski

Jason Lewandowski

Automotive Technician student

Age: 22
Hometown: Apple Valley, Minnesota
DCTC graduation date: May 2020

Jason Lewandowski puts in 40 hours a week as an express service tech at Feldmann Imports in Bloomington, Minnesota. He is looking forward to working at Feldmann after he graduates. He enjoys the challenge of working on high-end, high-tech vehicles.

“I like that I get to work on a variety of vehicles at Feldmann,” Jason said, “not only Mercedes-Benz models, but many other luxury cars as well. That spices things up, but it can also be stressful because the parts are so expensive.”

Favorite Mercedes-Benz vehicle: AMG C 63 S Coupe

Jack Carlson

Jack Carlson

Automotive Technician student

Age: 21
Hometown: New Market, Minnesota
DCTC graduation date: December 2020

Jack Carlson started at Feldmann Imports four months ago. He works 36 hours a week while going to school. He is an express service technician at Feldmann and credits the Automotive Technician program with preparing him to work on exceptionally sophisticated vehicles.

“All the instructors know what they’re talking about,” Jack said. “They have real-world experience, and they show you how to be successful in your future career as a technician.”

Favorite Mercedes-Benz vehicle: AMG E 63 S WAGON

Mercedes-Benz campus visit gallery

View more event photos on the DCTC Flickr album by visiting:

Automotive Technician Program Partnering with Mercedes-Benz

More about the Automotive Technician program…

As skilled professionals, automotive technicians accurately diagnose mechanical problems related to engine, transmission, fuel injection, suspension and electrical systems. Students learn to maintain and repair engine, chassis, drive train, front-wheel drive, fuel injection, and electrical and emission systems. Instruction involves classroom theory, demonstrations, computer applications and hands-on car repair.

The Vehicle Maintenance program is designed to introduce students to the automotive industry and provide opportunities to obtain the entry-level fundamental knowledge, skills, training and credentials needed for employment and advancement in transportation career pathways.

The curriculum follows the standards defined by the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Education Foundation, which ensures all training meets the highest standards. Students who graduate from this program will be able to work for independent repair facilities and dealerships in maintenance and light repair.

Program awards and outcomes


Automotive Service Technicians & Mechanics

Diagnose problems and repair cars and light trucks.



Median: $19.65/hour
High: $24.49/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $20.61/hour
High: $25.24/hour


This career is currently in very high demand. There will be a need for about 13,329 new Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics to meet market demand between 2016–2026. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

Feldmann Imports art donation

During fall semester 2019, Feldmann Imports in Bloomington, Minnesota, designed, donated and installed large-scale photo art in the Automotive Technician lab, shop and classroom areas.

Learn more about the Automotive Technician program at DCTC by contacting:

Jeffrey Copeland
Automotive Technology Faculty

Scott Anderson
Automotive Technician Faculty

Matt Boudinot
Automotive Technician Faculty

Crist Siebenaler
AUTM Faculty