Fiat Chrysler Offers Employees Chance For Free College Education At A For-Profit University

Providing the opportunity for employees to obtain a college degree is a worthy intention. Just as Starbucks announced in 2014 that it would finance the college dreams of workers around the country, Fiat Chrysler has unveiled a similar program today. There’s only one slight difference: the university that Chrysler has partnered with is a for-profit college.

Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. division announced Monday that it has teamed up with Strayer University (you know, the school with Steve Harvey in the commercials) to create the Degrees@Work program, allowing eligible employees to earn a college degree.

Full- and part-time employees who have worked at one of Fiat Chrysler’s Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Fiat dealerships for 30 days are eligible to enroll in any of the more than 40 Strayer programs offered online or on-campus without spending a dime of their own money, Forbes reports.

In order to offer the opportunity to employees, dealerships must pay a flat fee to Fiat Chrysler to cover part of the program, which will reportedly cover tuition, books and other expenses.

The company did not provide information on the average cost of the dealerships’ fees. However, Forbes reports that the average bachelor’s degree from Strayer costs about $42,000.

The program not only aims to educate employees, but to improve retention at Fiat Chrysler dealerships, the company 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,” Al Gardner, Head of Dealer Network Development, and President & CEO of the Chrysler Brand in the U.S., said in a statement. “Our goal is to position our dealer network as the ‘employers of choice.’

Degrees@Work will first launch at Chrysler’s dealerships in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. Eligible employees at the more than 360 locations in those states can now enroll for summer and fall terms at Strayer.

Employees can choose from more than 40 degree programs including business administration, accounting, education and information systems.

Fiat Chrysler says that the 24/7 access to Strayer courses will allow the employees-turned-students the flexibly to design their education around their jobs.

To expedite employee’s education, the company says that Strayer will offer the new students credit for training and work experience already obtained through their work at the dealership.

The company expects to rollout the program national later this year.

FCA US Dealers to Offer Employees No-Cost, No-Debt College Education [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
Chrysler to offer free college tuition to all dealership employees [Forbes]