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Chrysler to Offer Free College Education to Dealership Employees

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May 4, 2015—Fiat Chrysler, seeking to curb the industry’s “dramatic” turnover rate among dealership employees, said  it will offer “no-cost, no-debt” college educations to workers at participating U.S. dealerships. The cost of the education—for individual classes and associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at Strayer University in about 40 fields of study—will be paid for entirely by FCA and its dealers.

FCA has approximately 118,000 employees in its 2,600 dealerships, including about 18,000 in dealerships in the southeast region. Any employee of a participating dealer—lot attendant, service tech, sales representative, general manager—is eligible to take classes through the program.

The program, which FCA says is the first in the automotive industry, is voluntary for U.S. dealers and will start today at the 356 dealerships in FCA US’s southeast region of Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama and Tennessee.

Fox declined to discuss the costs of the program but said that dealers who choose to participate will pay a flat monthly fee, regardless of the number of their employees who take classes.

Fox said the reason for the move is simple: “The turnover rate is just dramatic in this industry, and it impacts a dealer’s bottom line. We think this will attract the best talent in the marketplace.”

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