Amazon today announced their new “Amazon Career Choice” program which is, in fact, a tuition assistance program. Actually, it most closely resembles the old G.I. Bill that the military used to offer, whereby if you spent four years in the military, the government would pay up to a certain amount for up to 4 years of college (the payment would go directly to you so long as you were in school full time). In the case of the Amazon Career Choice tuition assistance, an Amazon employee (“Amazon Associate”) who has been with Amazon for at least three years, can get up to 95% of their tuition paid for qualifying academic programs.
By ‘qualifying programs’, Amazon says, they mean college programs that are vocational in nature, and not general bachelors or masters programs. Says Amazon, “The Amazon Career Choice Program will pre-pay 95% of tuition and associated fees at accredited schools for courses that lead to technical and vocational certifications or associate’s degrees in eligible in-demand fields, such as Engineering, Information Technology, Mechanical and Electrical Trades, Healthcare, Construction, Transportation, and Accounting. Specific examples include aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technology, medical laboratory science, dental hygiene, and nursing. This program focuses on technical and vocation training programs and does not apply to Bachelors or Master’s degree coursework.”
In addition, the maximum they will pay per year is $2,000.
This is a great opportunity for those who want to earn a degree or certificate in the delineated programs.
Explains Amazon, in their FAQ, “Unlike traditional tuition reimbursement programs, we exclusively fund education only in areas that are well-paying and in high demand according to sources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and we fund those areas regardless of whether those skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. In addition, the Amazon Career Choice Program will pay tuition and fees in advance rather than reimbursement after the completion of the course.”
Here is Amazon’s announcement of the program:
At Amazon, we like to pioneer, we like to invent, and we’re not willing to do things the normal way if we can figure out a better way.(Article continues below)
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One area where we’ve seen particular success is our fulfillment center network. Sustained innovation inside our fulfillment centers has driven improved reliability, accuracy, and speed of delivery, as well as productivity and safety. Our high productivity allows us to pay our fulfillment center employees 30% more than traditional physical retail store employees while still offering customers the lowest prices. Our work on safety practices has been so effective that it’s statistically safer to work in an Amazon fulfillment center than in a traditional department store.
Our bias for reinvention extends into our recruiting teams. For most of the year, our full-time fulfillment center employees can keep up with customer demand. But during the holiday gift-giving season, our peak needs temporarily double, and we employ many more people. Our seasonal recruiting program called CamperForce — where RVers combine work with camping — has been very successful and much written about in the media. And our military veteran recruiting program effectively helps vets transition into the civilian workforce. Amazon was recently named the #1 Top Military Friendly Employer by G.I. Jobs Magazine.
Those are just a few examples, and innovation doesn’t stop. Today, we’re announcing our newest innovation — one we’re especially excited about — the Amazon Career Choice Program.
Learn about the Amazon Career Choice Program
Many of our fulfillment center employees will choose to build their careers at Amazon. For others, a job at Amazon might be a step towards a career in another field. We want to make it easier for employees to make that choice and pursue their aspirations. It can be difficult in this economy to have the flexibility and financial resources to teach yourself new skills. So, for people who’ve been with us as little as three years, we’re offering to pre-pay 95% of the cost of courses such as aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies, nursing, and many other fields.
The program is unusual. Unlike traditional tuition reimbursement programs, we exclusively fund education only in areas that are well-paying and in high demand according to sources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and we fund those areas regardless of whether those skills are relevant to a career at Amazon.
Like many of our innovations at Amazon, the Career Choice Program is an experiment. We’re excited about it and hope it will pay big dividends for some of our employees. This is one innovation that we hope other companies in this economy will copy.
Thanks for being a customer,
Founder & CEO
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