Chrysler Now Offers Free College Education
On Monday May 4, 2015, Chrysler announced the automaker’s plan to offer free college tuition to the more than 118,000 employees that work at Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Fiat dealerships. After reviewing the success of the Starbucks free college education employee incentive program, Chrysler offers part and full time employees that accumulate a minimum of 30 work days the opportunity to enroll in an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree program in 40 different programs at Strayer University. With 80 campuses located in 24 states, Strayer University possesses the educational breadth to reach many of Chrysler’s employees. The school also offers a comprehensive online degree programs that allow Chrysler employees to work full time and have the flexibility to attend classes outside of work hours. Chrysler’s version of the free college tuition employee incentive program initially rolled out in southeastern states that include Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Columbia’s home state of Tennessee.
The Benefits of the Free College Tuition Program
President and CEO of the Chrysler brand, Al Gardner, said providing free college tuition for Chrysler employees creates several tangible benefits. With dealership employee turnover averaging between 45 and 60 percent, Gardner stated that Chrysler always looks for ways to retain the brightest talent. Gardner said, “Selling cars is “a wonderful thing, but it’s a tough job.”” Gardner spent considerable time talking with dealers and after receiving feedback, moved forward with the idea to provide free college tuition. “Their largest issue is how to attract the right talent to take customer service to the next level,” stated Gardner. Moreover, the free college tuition program produces an educated pool of employees that contribute to the automaker’s bottom line. Chrysler employees that start their careers in sales can move up to owning their own dealerships, after acquiring the right business and management skills taught at a four-year university such as Strayer. Free college tuition is especially attractive to the large millennial workforce.
What Chrysler Wanted in a University
Gardner said Chrysler looked long and hard for a university that met the automaker’s high academic standards. Strayer exceeds the criteria Chrysler used to measure national reach, accreditation, adult teaching expertise, and diverse academic options. According to a 2012 United States Senate report, the for-profit Strayer “University is doing a much better job of serving students than most of the for-profit schools examined.” The typical four-year bachelor’s degree program at Strayer runs about $42,000, excluding the costs of textbooks. Chrysler employees that take online courses at Strayer University save money on the cost of textbooks, as many online classes require Internet-based research. “It’s vitally important that we don’t ask these employees to put a cash outlay and then wait 90 or 180 days for reimbursement,”” Gardner said. The goal is to have Chrysler pay the tuition for employees upfront.
Chrysler employees can learn more about the free college tuition program by contacting the human resource professional at each dealership. Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Columbia has already started the program for our team of dedicated automotive professionals. If you’re looking for employment in the fast-paced and exciting automotive industry, and you’re interested in a free college education, don’t hesitate to contact us about employment opportunities.