Fiat Chrysler is making it easier for employees to manage student debt through its tie-up with CommonBond.

With automakers pressing ahead with new technology manufacturers are eager to bring in new talent to exploit it.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. is adding a new wrinkle to its benefit package to help salaried employees saddled with student loans and help bring in new recruits.

The new benefit helps FCA employees refinance their student loans through CommonBond. It is in addition to the tuition assistance program offered to employees working on an additional degree while employed by the company, FCA spokesman Michael Palese said in an e-mail.

Palese also said FCA employees also receive discounts on tuition at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan, the University of Phoenix and the University of Detroit.

(Fiat Chrysler settles emissions cheating case for $800 million. Click Here for the story.)

“With so many people entering the workforce with student debt, FCA US is proud to reinforce our commitment to offer this competitive and much needed benefit for our employees,” said Barb Pilarski, head of Human Resources, FCA – North America. “These benefits will provide FCA US employees a less costly means to pay off student debt and support their path to a sound financial future,” she said.

Using CommonBond, FCA employees can find ways to reduce what they are paying on student loans.

As labor markets tighten and demand for specific skill set increases, employers increasingly have been looking for ways to attract potential employees.

FCA US salaried employees with student loan debt, as well as employees with federal government-backed Parent PLUS loans, are now eligible to refinance these loans through the program with preferred terms.

CommonBond student loan refinancing enables employees to replace existing loans with a new, lower interest rate loan that has award-winning customer service, strong borrower protections and a social promise. CommonBond is the only company in finance or education with a one-for-one social mission. For every loan it funds, CommonBond also funds the education of a child in need.

So far 243 employees have applied for the program and 24 applications have been approved by CommonBond.

(Click Here for more about FCA’s settlement talks with DOJ and CARB.)

Pilarski said the student loan refinance program is part of a recently launched financial fitness initiative to provide FCA US employees with convenient access to important financial resources, tools, links to FCA program offerings and more.

The FCA Family Health and Wellness Center in Kokomo, Indiana, is a partnership with St. Vincent.

With the loan program, FCA US also continues a tradition as a leader in providing attractive, innovative benefits to employees.

The was the first U.S. automaker to offer domestic partner benefits to employees in 2000. Today, FCA US remains committed to offering a competitive package of benefits that includes traditional and optional benefit programs, such as tuition reimbursement, on- and near-worksite health, exercise and wellness opportunities, paid time off for volunteer activities, employee new vehicle purchase or lease at discounted rates, pet insurance and many others.

In July 2018, FCA US became the first domestic automaker to dedicate a near-site health and wellness clinic for employees. Called the FCA Family Health and Wellness Center powered by St. Vincent, this physician-led, primary care clinic exclusively serves more than 22,000 health care members (employees and family members) in Kokomo and Tipton, Indiana.

“With the addition of student loan benefits for its employees, FCA US is a leader in addressing one of the most prominent issues facing the workforce today: student debt,” said Tara Fung, vice president, CommonBond for Business. “Student loan benefits have emerged as a key way for companies to attract and keep top talent, and we’re thrilled to partner with FCA US to support the financial wellness of its employees.”

(To see more about FCA’s two newest executives, Click Here.)

Student loan debt surpassed $1.5 trillion in the United States in 2018 and the average college graduate joins the workforce today with more than $37,000 in debt. As a result, student debt is one of the largest financial hurdles a new employee might face.

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