Larry P. Vellequette| Crain’s Detroit Business

Fiat Chrysler Automotive, 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.

The program, which FCA says is the first in the automotive industry, is voluntary for U.S. dealers and took effective Monday at the 356 dealerships in FCA US’s 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, said John Fox, FCA’s director of dealer training.

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

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