Fiat Chrysler Offers to Send 118,000 Back to School

Photo (cc) by Ron Cogswell

Fiat Chrysler is inviting car dealership employees to go back to school — on the company’s dime.

The automobile manufacturer has announced that it will cover the cost of college degrees for 118,000 employees who enroll in Strayer University’s [email protected] program.

Workers at Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck and Fiat dealerships are eligible to have tuition, books and other expenses covered in associate, bachelor’s and master’s programs.

CNN Money reports that Fiat Chrysler is requesting that 2,400 dealers across the country opt into the program.

Al Gardner, CEO of the Chrysler brand in North America, told CNN Money:

Strayer has negotiated a deal that makes it very reasonable and I would be incredibly surprised if a dealer says, I can’t afford to opt into it. A dealer is going to look at this, understand the value proposition and opt in.

The program kicks off in 356 dealerships in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. Employees at these dealerships are eligible to enroll in online or on-campus classes for summer and fall terms, according to a press release.

Strayer has a couple dozen campuses in 16 states, according to its website.

The program is slated to be rolled out nationwide sometime around late June. Part-time and full-time employees are eligible for the program after just 30 days of employment with the dealership, Fortune magazine reports.

While many employer-based education programs require employees to pay costs up front — before being reimbursed later — workers in the Fiat Chrysler program will not have to pay any costs, CNN Money reports.

Gardner explains why Fiat Chrysler is offering this perk:

Many of our dealers have expressed concern over the availability of talent to fill open positions due to business growth and turnover in their stores, especially in metro markets… Our goal is to position our dealer network as the ’employers of choice.’

Fiat Chrysler is not the only company making headlines with its employee education perks. Recently, Starbucks announced that it would expand eligibility in its College Achievement Plan to more than 140,000 full-time and part-time U.S. workers.

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