Jeep employees step away from the assembly line and into the classroom

Jeep employees step away from the assembly line and into the classroom

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - We're getting closer and closer to the new Jeep Wrangler hitting the streets of Toledo.

Fiat Chrysler is getting the Toledo employees ready, but not in the way that you might think.

The 2,000 Jeep employees are stepping away from the assembly line and into the classroom.

"[We learn] workplace organization. We learn safety and environmental and how to prevent any accidents or anything like that," employee Stephen Breen said.

They're used to working with their hands, but Fiat Chrysler leaders say "The Toledo Way" initiative is just as important.

This partnership with the University of Toledo and Northwest State Community College prepares the workforce for their roles on the new assembly line.

"They're basically teaching us everything we need to know in order to get back to work and perform in the best way we possibly can," said employee Allen Chatman.

Jeep employees are going in shifts to UT's Scott Park campus for three days worth of training. Leaders say this helps workers take a step back and learn about both quality and safety.

"Everything that we've learned goes hand and hand with what we are doing at the plant," employee Sara Ruiz said.

Different hands-on classroom activities serve to prepare the employees for the JL Wrangler.

"They desire this plant to be here for another 76 years and what we are challenging them, what we are equipping them with will help us be the premiere manufacturer of vehicles in the world. We believe that when we launch this JL Wrangler with this workforce, we will prove just that, that we are the premiere manufacturer in the entire world," said Jeff Rains of people development for the Toledo Jeep Complex.

After the employees are done with classroom training, they will head back to Jeep for several more weeks of on-the-job training.

"It's pretty exciting being that the Wrangler is probably the best truck being sold around the world right now," Chatman said.

Fiat Chrysler invested $700 million dollars into the plant for the production of the Jeep.

The JL Wrangler is set to hit the streets in January 2018.

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