A federally-approved online military training program for dealership and corporate jobs has been launched by Chrysler LLC with “better than expected results.”

The program, open to all veterans of the armed forces and their spouses, has already placed 387 Iraq veterans at dealerships and 67 in Chrysler corporate departments, says Kurt Crisman, marketing director of the program's creator, Latitude Consulting Group, based in Saline, MI.

The program was launched by Chrysler last summer at the direction of its chairman and CEO, Robert Nardelli, who conceived the idea at his previous company, Home Depot.

“Without cost to the military or to veterans, this program trains veterans in most dealership functions — sales, service, parts and office,” Crisman says. “College credits are offered for those, like service technicians, who will need to add private certification courses.”

Program sections include preparation of resumes, how to demonstrate and sell vehicles, advisable techniques in service writeups and the best ways of closing transactions in vehicle sales, service and parts selling. The 50 courses all are Web-based.

A finance and insurance course is yet to come.

GIs nearing transfer to separation units learn about the program in GI magazines and bulletins. Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealers are advised to register for interviews with interested veterans and about 1,500 have already done so, says Crisman.

“We've developed 15 courses on vehicle sales alone,” he says. “It took some doing, since everything is online, but we're happy to report it's working out at the dealership and corporate levels and providing veterans or their spouses with good jobs they might not have gotten so quickly otherwise after military service.”