AUTOMOTIVE NEWS: Retailers cheer FCA’s free college program for U.S. dealerships

Career College Central Summary:

  • Fiat Chrysler's plan to offer free college educations to employees of its U.S. dealerships will enable retailers to attract and keep high-performing employees, the chairman of the FCA US Dealer Council said.
  • "Dealers are always looking for a way to keep good people in their organization," said Jim Arrigo, who owns five FCA dealerships in Florida. "This program will also help in hiring people who may be thinking about going to school but they need to work. Finding out that they can work at an [FCA] dealership and get an education at the same time would be a great positive."
  • The program, announced by FCA US last week, offers employees at participating dealerships a no-cost, no-debt education. FCA US and its dealers will pay for individual classes and associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs at Strayer University in about 40 fields of study.
  • The voluntary program is available in the 356 dealerships in FCA US' southeast region of Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama and Tennessee. It will expand to the company's other eight U.S. regions in the third quarter. About 118,000 dealership employees will be eligible.
  • "The No. 1 thing dealers tell us is that the hardest thing they do is attract talent, develop talent and maintain talent," said Al Gardner, the newly appointed head of FCA US' dealer network. "What we've tried to do here is give the dealerships a lever that no one else has."
  • Strayer University is a private, for-profit accredited university based in Washington, D.C., with an enrollment of 40,000. It offers classes online and at 77 campuses in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

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