By on May 4, 2015

Fiat Dealership In New Jersey Circa January 2013

FCA US dealerships in the Southeastern United States are among the first to offer free college scholarships to their employees.

The program – [email protected] – is a partnership between FCA US and private for-profit institution Strayer University. It will offer associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 40 fields of study to any employee interested, Automotive News reports.

The partnership deal is voluntary for all dealerships in the U.S., with those in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama and Tennessee offering the tuition-free education program beginning Monday. The remaining eight U.S. dealership regions will follow in Q3 2015.

In addition to the standard curriculum offered through its online and on-campus education offerings, Strayer will incorporate industry- and dealership-related studies into the coursework with help from FCA. Credits for previous coursework and/or life experience will also be offered through the program.

In return for the partnership, FCA US aims to stem the tide of turnover at its dealerships by attracting and retaining qualified employees who wouldn’t otherwise consider working in the industry. FCA dealer training director John Fox says [email protected]’s promise of a no-cost, no-debt college degree – normally a $42,000-$50,000 investment at Strayer; the FCA program pays less per degree – would attract “the best and brightest” to FCA’s dealership network, improving both retention rates and customer service.

[Photo credit: p_d_s/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

48 Comments on “FCA US, Strayer University Offering Dealership Employees Free College Education...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “Strayer will incorporate industry- and dealership-related studies into the coursework with help from FCA.”

    This now sounds like Strayer is a for-profit institution, getting a kickback for this. I am now in doubt if the quality of an education received there.

    And if FCA isn’t making them sign a work contract for a certain term after getting their free education, I hope they realize their employees will not stay long.

    …Unless an education from Strayer is worthless, which it might be. But even if it is, having the credentials can mean job eligibility (at least a little).

    • 0 avatar
      jrmason

      “This now sounds like Strayer is a for-profit institution, getting a kickback for this.”

      They are, it even says so in the article.

      There’s not enough detail to form an opinion here but it could be a decent option for the less fortunate. At least FCA is making an effort to invest in their future.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Also I think that dealership hired Matt Gasnier to park all their 500s.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    “Credits for previous coursework and/or life experience will also be offered through the program.”

    So, your mastery of BS can finally be applied towards your B.S. degree.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Slimy move by Sergio, who probably is getting some sort of kickback for forcing FCA and/or dealerships having to pay Strayer University (what next? Everest? Phoenix? ITT? That Motorcycle repair “college?”) for online degrees for employees.

    This is also more evidence Fiat can’t sell products in NA, when FCA can’t retain Fiat Dealership employees (can they retain stand alone Fiat dealers?).

    The Jeep GC & Cherokee & RAM are absolutely carrying the entirety of FCA. I see $0 down/$139 month 200 lease deals on Chrysler 200s and $0 down/$109 month Dodge Dart deals all over metro Detroit (and the advertised cars are in stock in abundance).

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    Strayer College? I’ve never heard of them, I assume they are a for profit college-like Corinthean, Everest, Phoenix and the other rip-off institutions calling themselves “colleges”. As in the other posts, I’m sure Sergio is getting some kind of a kick back in this deal.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Yes a for profit college, I see them advertise all the time here in VA. As I understand it though for profit college degrees aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. My brother’s ex-wife habitually takes for profit courses and he tells me the credits won’t transfer to a regular college.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Most if not all non-profit college degrees aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. I hope your ex sister-in-law isn’t doing so at your brother’s expense.

  • avatar
    BobinPgh

    I have to wonder why anyone Needs college to work at a dealership at all? Most of what salespeople know is learned on the job and the mechanics learn at a technical school. You do not need advanced math, advanced science classes, that one would get in college to sell cars. You do need those classes if you want to work in health care which is why most hospitals have them for their employees (mostly to major in nursing). Also, you don’t need liberal artsy Shakespeare classes, it’s not like you are going to be an actor for one of his plays.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      It seems like the dealers will benefit from less employee turnover; the staff might be inclined to stick around at least as long as it takes to graduate from the University of CCBS [Close Cover Before Striking]. After graduation, they will be competing with all those other college grads, most with credentials from far more impressive institutions, who have an equally hard time getting decent jobs. So they stick around a little longer because any job is better than no job. After 4 -5 years inertia kicks in. Maybe a few will actually learn to like it and get good at it.

      The question is why is FCA footing the bill. I doubt if life at their dealerships is much better or worse than the rest of the industry, and no other brands seem to feel the need to assist their franchisees with employee retention.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Dealership retention is determined by the amount of volume that the salespeople can deliver. A lot of these guys will be out of a job before they’ve completed their first course.

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          Well at least they have Jeep and RAM to sell. A much more promising situation than being at, say, a VW dealership.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The only Fiat dealers I see in the metro Detroit tri-county area are standalone, costly new buildings located on pricey commercial real estate.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      One point of value for FCA is that this creates a talent pool for an OEM that is in constant need of new field staff where a 4 year degree is a requirement.

      As someone who has done hiring for an OEM for professional/technical positions, it’s very difficult to find talent with actual technical/field experience that meets the professional/educational requirements.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The kickback talk is ridiculous. The only way to provide this kind of thing to employees who are scattered across a wide geographic area is to go with an online-oriented program. The traditional non-profit schools that everyone prefers are not going to accommodate these kinds of efforts.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      If by “everyone” you mean employers then yes, employers strongly prefer real college degrees to garbage like Phoenix or Strayer.

      I support online education, especially the MOOC model with high quality schools like Harvard providing the education.

      But the for-profit schools charging top-tier school, student loan maxing-out tuition for online interaction with “professors” that are much lower quality than a typical community college is THE scam of our era.

      And unlike most scams historically the victims cannot even declare bankruptcy after they have nothing left. But they still cannot afford to pay and leave the government holding the bag on the student loans.

      For something like Phoenix or Strayer $2,000 for the full degree would make financial sense for students from an ROI perspective and still leave the schools with a tidy profit.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Among the for-profits, Strayer and Phoenix are more legitimate that the others. Not optimal, but better than most.

        It’s nice to tout Harvard as a model, but that’s akin to recommending that the average car blog reader buy a Ferrari. As a practical matter, the alternative to these for-profit online programs are junior colleges, but those don’t offer four-year degrees and it isn’t possible to negotiate with a single college or college district to serve a group scattered across several states.

        (It would be better still to improve our high schools and to make technical training more credible, but that is a problem that is well beyond the scope of an automaker.)

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          The thing about online education is that there is zero marginal cost for quality.

          It is like driving a Ferrari instead of a Pinto in a video game.

          I am sure FCA is paying close to nothing for these degrees (probably close to the $2,000 per degree I mentioned or less). Being attached to FCA unfortunately gives Strayer very valuable false sense of legitimacy, and FCA gets to look like a good guy for almost nothing while attracting the best-of-the-best sleazy cell phone sales people to step up to cars.

          But the people paying face value to these schools are being massively screwed, as are the taxpayers underwriting it with guaranteed loans.

          I am open to discuss Strayer and Phoenix degrees being worth anything up to $5,000 total ($1,250 per year), but get out of here with this nonsense that they are worth anything near the $50 – $60K face values (which most students get charged).

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Strayer has been around for over a century. It acquired ex-GE CEO Jack Welch’s online MBA program. It obviously isn’t Ivy League, but it seems to be better than Corinthian.

            The traditional high-end schools are not inclined to create these kinds of programs because they would tarnish their brands. (One of the primary characteristics of top schools is their regular practice of rejecting most of their applicants.)

            If the goal is to provide more people with higher education, then you should expect more of them to be attending lower caliber schools. If the lower-tier non-profits don’t expand their online programs or otherwise provide courses that are accessible to full-time workers, then the for-profits will end up filling the gap.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Without the kickback talk and similar groundless conjecture, we won’t have as much snarky fun.

      Quit harshing our buzz, Pch.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Well, FCA, your employee’s aren’t happy and are leaving your organisation.

    Why?

    Could be two factors causing this, pay and culture within the organization, ie, pi$$ poor management.

    FCA’s response, the employee’s happiness indicator is low.

    FCA’s response, let’s find the cheapest way of making them think we care.

    Maybe FCA should offer better career management and possibly enterprise specific training that will further FCA.

    I do think this is the usual incorrect (cheapest response) to appear to be doing something and achieving very little.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      None of these people work for FCA. They work at dealerships.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @jpolicke,
        I realise this.

        McDonalds have many franchised businesses. But McDonalds still do have a degree of accountability in their operation.

        I don’t think FCA will allow it’s dealers to run amok.

        The dealers for FCA are the interface between FCA and the public.

        FCA will very interested in how the dealers operate.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    It’s cute that people think there is such a thing as a NOT for-profit university.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Maybe the course will help them explain in a friendly and believable manner to 500 owners why the suspension bump stops need replacing about four times during warranty, and why the center of the door handles pulls right out in your hand during colder weather.

    FCA being what it is, the bump stops haven’t been redesigned since the 500’s introduction in 2011. So it’s the same underperforming part you get for free under warranty which will undoubtedly fail again. The door handles redesigned? Is that a serious question?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “FCA being what it is, the bump stops haven’t been redesigned since the 500’s introduction in 2011.”

      Yes they have. There’s a new part number out.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Educate FCA dealer employees so they stay with FCA dealers longer………

    Alex, what is an oxymoron?

  • avatar

    Via Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For-profit_higher_education_in_the_United_States “Strayer University, which reports its loan repayment rate to be 55%, only has a repayment rate of roughly 25%,[142] according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education on August 13, 2010.[143] The low repayment rate makes Strayer ineligible for receiving further Title IV funds in accordance with new “Gainful employment” regulations brought forth by the Department of Education, which are to take effect on July 2011″

  • avatar
    RHD

    There is a tendency to try to offer everything online to cut costs – doctors on line, ‘college’ educations… the quality of any interaction not done in person is not at all the same, and the final product is either cheapened or useless.
    As an employer interviewing job candidates, would you be impressed by a Strayer or University of Phoenix certificate earned by a car salesman using a smart phone?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Having an online degree from McInternet University will be preferable to having no degree at all.

      We are moving toward an economy in which people will be expected to have higher education if they are to be entrusted with anything other than looking for recyclables in trash cans. That’s a horrendous trend, but I don’t expect FCA to fix that.

  • avatar
    BobinPgh

    The problem with online is what if you are a Fiat salesperson and you want to go to college to be an actor? You need to have acting classes on a stage and how can you do that online? Or do you recite your lines into an I-phone?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Don’t be naive about what FCA hopes the now-educated salespeople will do once they spend years selling cars and earning their degree.

      The Chrysler dealer won’t have any problem retaining a salesman educated as an actor, assuming he or she sells enough cars to keep their job for four years…

      Said salesman may have more fun when they’re not selling cars, so it seems like it could be a win-min considering the aligned interests of the people in you hypothetical situation, just so long as the salesman understood the deal….

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • RHD: Kia will be making small SUVs in Colorado and Hyundai’s factories will be in Arizona and New Mexico. Dodge...
  • Arthur Dailey: Old age pension plans have been proven to have greatly reduced the number of seniors living in...
  • Luke42: So the churchgoers all get Coronavirus, and the atheists go back to school when it’s all over?...
  • Luke42: The Sienna headlights have adjusters on them that you can use to aim the lights so that they point below the...
  • HotPotato: Don’t confuse us with facts, there’s baseless and ill-informed outrage to indulge!

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Timothy Cain
  • Matthew Guy
  • Ronnie Schreiber
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth