Attracting and keeping quality employees: the goal of all businesses, including dealerships. Well, part of that for Fiat-Chrysler means free college for dealership employees at the 356 Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Fiat dealerships in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee. WardsAuto.com reports the program is in the pilot phase right now and is set up through Strayer University Degrees At Work. It will enable employees from the southeast dealerships to participate, from porters to top managers.

I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing we were when we heard this – what’s the catch? So we got the answers from Strayer Education CEO, Karl McDonnell, during his recent conversation on CNBC. Karl says, “They have to have been employed for 30 days, that’s about it. It’s open to all full-time and part-time employees. The employee will have a chance to earn an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree with zero out-of-pocket expenses whatsoever, so there’s no reimbursement required. The dealer pays for everything.” McDonnell also mentions that employees are not required to stay with Chrysler after. Courses are available online or at any of Strayer’s 80 campuses in 24 states. This fall, the program is expected to be offered nationwide to FCA’s 2,600 dealerships, which employ more than 118,00 people.

When asked how this program came about, Al Gardner, Head of Dealer Network Development and President/CEO of the Chrysler brand, said, “Our goal is to position our dealer network as the ’employers of choice’. Our collaboration with Strayer demonstrates our focus on building our dealers’ hardworking employees skillets to help them perform at an optimal level, while also investing in their long-term success.”

To put the program into perspective, a 40-course Bachelor’s degree from Strayer can cost more than $50,000, excluding books, for non-FCA students.

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