AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA US) will now offer employees of Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and FIAT dealerships the opportunity to earn a college degree through Strayer University’s Degrees@Work program, developed in collaboration with the automaker.
The new Degrees@Work program will enable employees of participating dealerships to earn no-cost college degrees and help FCA US dealerships attract top talent, improve the skills of existing employees and significantly increase employee retention, officials said.
“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,” said Al Gardner, head of Dealer Network Development, and president and CEO of the Chrysler Brand, FCA US. “Our goal is to position our dealer network as the ‘employers of choice.’ Our collaboration with Strayer demonstrates our focus on building our dealers’ hard-working employees’ skillsets to help them perform at an optimal level while also investing in their long-term success.”
FCA US is launching this initiative in collaboration with Strayer University, an accredited university offering associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees to all FCA US dealership employees. Strayer University is a postsecondary institution with a more than 120-year history educating working adult students at campus locations across the country and online.
The first phase of the Degrees@Work program is being launched to FCA US dealers in its Southeast Business Center with up to 356 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and FIAT dealerships. FCA US dealerships in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee may now offer their employees the opportunity to enroll in online and on-campus degree programs for summer and fall terms from Strayer University, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
“FCA US is a true innovator for taking concrete steps toward reimagining the way education and business work together,” said Karl McDonnell, CEO of Strayer Education, which owns Strayer University. “We are proud to partner with an organization that is tackling national issues of college affordability and the skills gap head on. FCA US is creating new ways of learning that work for both the employer and the employee — skills are developed that immediately drive measurable results and employees are given a pathway to a college degree without debt.”
The program was developed based in part on input from dealers and their employees. Depending on the selected program of study, courses will range from business administration and accounting to education, information systems and other areas. Courses will be offered online with 24/7 access for employee flexibility around work schedules, as well as at Strayer’s campus locations throughout the United States. Credit will be offered to dealers’ employees for training and work experience to accelerate completion of a degree program.
“Dealers tell us that education is a benefit frequently-requested by their employees,” Gardner said. “With the increasing cost of a college education, offering free college degrees without the burden of debt presents a significant value that we are pleased to provide and that differentiates us from our competitors. It will certainly help us attract and retain strong talent.”