Work at a Chrysler dealership, get free college education

The cost of a college education in the US can put a student tens (hundreds, in some cases) of thousands of dollars into debt. FCA US wants to give its dealership employees a leg up, though, and the automaker is now offering a completely free education to them through a partnership with Strayer University. The workers can take any of the college's classes online or on campus through program called Degrees@Work.

Currently, the offer is only available to employees Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat dealers in the automaker's Southeast region, which includes Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. However, a national expansion will happen before the end of the year, Strayer spokesperson Cristina Henley tells Autoblog. The program will cover all of the students' expenses, including their books, according to Henley.

FCA US sees this partnership as a way to improve the talent of its workforce, retain employees longer and possibly attract people wanting to take advantage of this free education. "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, the company's Head of Dealer Network Development, said in the Degrees@Work announcement.

Strayer has about 40 programs available, including in business administration, accounting, marketing, and more, and the university offers associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees. It will also give FCA US employees credit for their work experience to get them a diploma even more quickly.
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FCA US Dealers to Offer Employees No-Cost, No-Debt College Education

FCA US teams with Strayer University to develop first-of-its-kind dealer program

Degrees@Work program open to all employees of participating dealerships

Employees can earn no-cost, no-debt degree through Strayer University

All Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram and FIAT dealerships may participate

First phase of program rollout begins with dealers in the FCA US Southeast Business Center

National rollout expected later this year

May 4, 2015 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Employees of Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram and FIAT dealerships will have the unique opportunity to earn a no-cost, no-debt college degree through Strayer University's Degrees@Work program, developed in collaboration with FCA US LLC. FCA US is the only company in the automotive industry to offer the program.

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.

"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 & CEO of the Chrysler Brand, FCA US LLC. "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 towards 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."

About Strayer Education Inc.
Strayer Education, Inc. (NASDAQ: STRA) is an education services holding company that owns Strayer University. Strayer's mission is to make higher education achievable for working adults in today's economy. Strayer University is a proprietary institution of higher learning that offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business administration, accounting, information technology, education, health services administration, public administration, and criminal justice to working adult students. The University includes Strayer@Work, which serves corporate clients by delivering the next generation of performance improvement and workforce development. Strayer University also offers an executive MBA online and corporate training program through its Jack Welch Management Institute. The University is committed to providing an education that prepares working adult students for advancement in their careers and professional lives. Founded in 1892, Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. (267-284-5000). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

FCA US LLC is a North American automaker with a new name and a long history. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, FCA US is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies. FCA US designs, engineers, manufactures and sells vehicles under the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and FIAT brands as well as the SRT performance vehicle designation. The company also distributes the Alfa Romeo 4C model and Mopar products. FCA US is building upon the historic foundations of Chrysler, the innovative American automaker first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925; and Fiat, founded in Italy in 1899 by pioneering entrepreneurs, including Giovanni Agnelli.

FCA, the seventh-largest automaker in the world based on total annual vehicle sales, is an international automotive group. FCA is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FCAU" and on the Mercato Telematico Azionario under the symbol "FCA."

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