Amazon is partnering with more than 140 national and local universities to provide fully-funded college tuition.
The e-tail giant, which is following the lead of other big retailers who are adding more benefits and perks to attract workers in the current tight job market, is adding dozens of local colleges and universities and four new national nonprofit education providers – including Southern New Hampshire University, Colorado State University Global, Western Governors University, and National University – to its Career Choice program.
Amazon is also partnering with GEDWorks and Smart Horizons to provide high school completion and GED preparation, Voxy EnGen and goFLUENT to provide English language proficiency training, and Outlier to provide college preparation courses—all for free.
Launched in 2012 to aid Amazon employees in obtaining continuing education, Career Choice was expanded in January 2022 so that Amazon hourly employees with at least three months’ tenure do not have to pay the cost of their education. Through its Career Choice program, the company funds full college tuition, as well as high school diplomas, GEDs, and English as a Second Language (ESL) proficiency certifications for frontline employees.
Amazon plans to invest a total of $1.2 billion by 2025 to expand the education and skills training benefits it offers to U.S. employees. The company will pay employees’ tuition and fees in advance, rather than offering reimbursement after coursework completion. Frontline employees will have access to annual funds for education as long as they remain at the company, with no limit to the number of years they can benefit. All 750,000 U.S. hourly employees are eligible to participate in after starting at Amazon.
Employees can take classes online, in-person at a local campus, or on-site in one of the more than 110 Career Choice classrooms located in fulfillment centers in 37 states. Since launching in 2012, Amazon says Career Choice has helped provide education for more than 50,000 employees.
As of this announcement, Amazon’s Career Choice program works with more than 180 education providers across the U.S., which along with colleges and universities includes partners providing industry certifications, English language proficiency, and high school completion programs. Career Choice is one of nine free skills training and education programs that Amazon offers to its employees as part of its Upskilling 2025 pledge.
[Read more: Amazon unveils nearly $1 billion employee retraining initiative]
“We’re committed to empowering our employees with easy access to the education and training they need to grow their careers, whether that’s with us or elsewhere,” said Alicia Boler Davis, senior VP of global customer fulfillment. “We’re thrilled today to be adding more education partners to our Career Choice program, which we hope will give our team access to the educational paths that fit their passions. Whether someone is looking to build their English proficiency skills, prepare for GED testing, or earn their bachelor’s degree, we’re working to meet our employees wherever they are on their educational journey.”
Other benefits Amazon offers include an average starting wage of $18 per hour, which is more than double the federal minimum wage, comprehensive health benefits, paid time off, and up to 20 weeks of fully paid parental leave.